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Comptroller's Office: Town of Richmondville "Failed in Certain Key Areas" on Maranatha

Written By Editor on 5/14/14 | 5/14/14

The New York State Comptroller's Office has released its' official report on the Town of Richmondville's administration and handling of state grants in the construction of the $5.6 million Maranatha Family Center, located on Route 7 in the Town of Richmondville.

Its' contents were not favorable to the town, as it slighted elected officials for not properly overseeing the use of approximately $3 million in Restore NY and CDBG state grants, summarily concluding that although they properly administered some aspects of the grants, the town "failed in certain key areas." 

Failures that stemmed from the town's inadequate supervision of various consultants and grant fund allotments, which in one instance led to a duplicate payment of $75,000 being made that the town had to resolve this past spring with the Empire State Development Corporation. 

Additionally, the report slammed the town's lack of oversight into ensuring the project stayed within the original $3.8 million construction budget, as costs overran initial estimates by $450,000 or 12%. Furthermore, the town is likely to be saddled with $20,000 in costs to pay for a required audit the developer has yet to satisfy. 

Overall, after taking into account the project's current state of foreclosure and the facility's inactivity, the report surmised that, "with the facility closed, the local community is receiving no benefit from the grant moneys spent, and other projects throughout the State could have benefited more from these moneys."

The report can be viewed in its entirety here.
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Unknown said...

The Center for Sustainable Rural Communities raised red flags about this project as early as 2009. Grant monies were contingent on the restoration of an historic barn which was demolished instead by the developer who claimed the building was “damaged during construction.” Records obtained under FOIL do not substantiate that claim.

There is much more to this story that needs to come out. We have asked the State Attorney General to continue the investigation and to act aggressively if fraudulent or criminal behavior is identified. In the interim, the same widely dysfunctional Richmondville government is involved in negotiations with a pharmaceutical company to purchase the abandoned Maranatha building. Additional new tax abatements/incentives are on the table, threatening to once again shift the burden to tax payers as the original developer walks away and the Town officials who allowed the whole disaster to unfold continue to get their salaries and benefits as they discuss another deal they are not qualified to handle.

-Bob Nied

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