As we follow the city's efforts to regain control of economic development money from the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth - the parent company of the Economic Development Corp. and the Crossroads Incubator Corp. - we are surprised by how difficult it is for the city to determine the whereabouts of this money.
First, the city had to file a lawsuit to get information about the funds, which the city was originally designated to administer. Then, the CRG's legal counsel challenged the city's discovery motion arguing the city lacks a viable reason for asking for the information.
In its first lawsuit filed in October, the city is seeking to regain control of 13 loans and a cash balance of about $940,000 from the economic development agencies. That lawsuit is still pending.
The city is considering a second lawsuit to recover a $750,000 loan from the EDC to the CIC that was used to redevelop the former Estee Middle School.
In a Nov. 6 challenge to the city's discovery motion, the CRG argues the city lacks a viable reason for asking for the information.
"No act or alleged omissions by [the agencies] caused [the city] to suffer any damages," CRG attorney Charles J. Tallent of Canajoharie wrote in the agencies' response. Furthermore, he wrote, the EDC and CIC "have not breached any contractual or common law duty" owed to the city.
In his October filing in state Supreme Court in Fulton County, Casale sought records from the EDC and CIC from their creation in 1988 to the present day.
The agency's attorney called the city's efforts a "fishing expedition" designed to harass the CIC and EDC over the loan for the Estee Commons apartments that was made while administering the Gloversville Urban Development Action Program. It also claims the loan for the Estee Commons project was a "prime example of a proper economic development loan" that benefits the city.
Why is the CRG so adamant about keeping information about the money from the city?
The ongoing legal battle is tying up the city attorney's time. This is time the city taxpayers pay for so he can represent their interests. It's unfortunate the CRG is dragging its feet about disclosing information, thereby costing the city money as it fights for information that should be available with a simple phone call - not a drawn-out legal battle.