Board OKs hiring attorney

FONDA – After a recommendation from the Montgomery County Industrial Development Agency, the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday adopted a resolution to retain legal counsel regarding loan closings.

On Oct. 18, IDA Chairman Bob Hayes sent a letter to Ken Rose, the chief executive officer of the Montgomery County Business Development Center, outlining recommendations the county should make. Rose then forwarded the letter to the board.

In the letter, Hayes requested the board create a resolution to hire an attorney to provide legal representation to the county for the closings of loans through the Montgomery County Revolving Loan Fund.

He noted a documentation review found certain items were incomplete, filed incorrectly and the county’s security positions were invalid.

Hayes said that hiring legal counsel would help ensure that loan documents were “completed accurately, reviewed properly and filed appropriately.”

Supervisors were skeptical and wondered whether the recommendation was in connection to the Crystal Ristorante and Bar situation that arose last year.

Chairman John Thayer said the restaurant had a loan through the county’s economic development center. However, it filed for bankruptcy and closed.

“The equipment was supposed to have been our collateral in the event that they did [close,] but it turned out we didn’t have a [claim] on it. Somebody else already had [claim] on it, so we didn’t get our money back,” Thayer said.

However, Rose said, the Crystal Bar situation had nothing to do with the IDA’s recommendation.

“The reason for [the recommendation] is a bunch of things – from the review process in relation to our loans, our loan closings and how things were being filed – and the IDA board felt that it’d be appropriate to be guided properly by a closing attorney versed in commercial loan closings that does take care of the things that were inappropriately filed,” Rose said.

However, County Attorney Doug Landon and Supervisor Ronald Barone Sr. of the 3rd Ward in Amsterdam said the resolution needed to be amended.

“You have a resolution that does not have the specifics in it, as far as who you’re hiring and that sort of thing or any sort of maximum as far as the compensation,” Landon said.

“We’re putting the cart before the horse,” Barone agreed.

The board amended the resolution so that attorney Charles Tallent of Canajoharie would be named the lawyer for the process and his compensation would not exceed $1,500.

All of the supervisors supported the resolution, except: Barone and Supervisor Tom DiMezza of the town of Amsterdam voted against the resolution; Supervisor Dominick Stagliano of St. Johnsville abstained; and Glen Supervisor Lawrence Coddington and Florida Supervisor William Strevy were absent.