At Tuesday’s meeting, the common council approved the majority of the bids on approximately 200 city owned properties from a public auction held on October 20. Before the vote, members met in executive session to discuss the bids. After the session, members voted to approve the bids with the exclusion of 30 properties.
According to Alderman Jim Martuscello, some of the reasons for excluding the bids included back taxes owed by the buyer, and the reputation of the buyer.
“We sold properties to individuals before, and over a period of time, nothing got done with them. We’re not going to give them to the same people,” said Martuscello.
According to Controller Matt Agresta, most of the excluded bids will be offered to the second highest bidder.
The excluded bids were identified by their catalog numbers: 6A, 9, 11, 27, 37, 45, 53, 61, 68, 77, 86, 87, 90, 95, 105, 108, 124, 125, 131, 158, 176, 180, 200, 230, 232, 233, 243, 252, 256, 257.
The properties can be identified by their catalog number on the NYSAuctions.com website.
The two properties that made up the former Crystal Bar on Lyons Street were among the properties excluded. The former restaurant sold as two separate properties to two different bidders. One property includes the original structure, and the other property includes the newer section of the restaurant which also includes the parking lot.
“There was confusion on the sale on both parties, on our part,” said Martuscello.
Tom Kelly, who was at the meeting and identified himself as the winning bidder on the property which contains the parking lot, disagreed and said, “There was no confusion at all, none.”
Kelly said he had researched the property fully before bidding and he had determined the two parts of the restaurant could function as separate businesses and had separate utility hookups.
Kelly claimed the buyer of the adjacent property, who was not identified, offered to sell the property to him, but also said if he did not agree, the buyer would ask city officials to cancel both sales.
“And sure enough I came here, and that’s what happened,” said Kelly.
At the end of the meeting, Mayor Michael Villa stressed that approved bidders did not yet have the right to enter the properties or take any items off the property until they received the deed to the property from the city.