(Update, May 20) – COMIDA Board Chair Theresa Mazzullo stepped down from her position Friday, following months of controversy surrounding the Irondequoit I-Square Development project.
In March, Monroe County GOP Chairman Bill Reilich called into question the stability of the project, following Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s appointment of Irondequoit Town Supervisor Adam Bello to the position of Monroe County Clerk, based on information he received from COMIDA.
I-Square Developers Mike and Wendy Nolan then disputed the claim, which COMIDA has reportedly since rescinded, according to the Nolans.
Mazzullo’s full statement regarding her resignation is below.
“I would like to announce that I have officially resigned as COMIDA board chair. Recent events have undermined the public’s confidence in COMIDA and, more importantly, my reputation. I want to publicly state for the record, and for the sake of my reputation, that neither I nor any COMIDA Board member were a party directly or indirectly with the exposure of the I-Square project.
What COMIDA does for economic development in this community is too important to be damaged by this incident. I took the job as COMIDA board chair because I believe in the importance of public-private partnerships. I am proud of the businesses we have helped to grow, and the jobs we have created over the last 12 years.
I want to see the integrity of COMIDA restored. For this reason, I call upon the county, and everyone else involved in this process, to bring all the facts forward, so that COMIDA can continue to its job of supporting businesses, and creating new jobs in our county.”
(From March 21) – The County of Monroe Industrial Development Agency has released a statement confirming Irondequoit’s I-Square developers have indeed defaulted on their payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement with the agency.
The information came to light after Monroe County GOP Chairman Bill Reilich called into question the stability of the project, following Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s appointment of Irondequoit Town Supervisor Adam Bello to the position of Monroe County Clerk Friday.
According to COMIDA, the “Event of Default” occurred when I-Square Developers Mike and Wendy Nolan failed to construct a second building by December of last year as part of their agreement.
“A small, unidentifiable building currently sits on the parcel where the second building should have been constructed,” COMIDA stated.
According to the Nolans, the second, on-site building was built in time to meet COMIDA’s deadline; however, the agency said the building does not meet the specification requirements of the agreement.
“The second building should be a 15,000 square foot 3-story building,” COMIDA stated. “The 1-story recycling center does not meet the foregoing specifications.”
COMIDA also said it may terminate the PILOT, as one of the remedial steps allowed under its agreement with the Nolans in the event of a default.
As a result, the Nolans have reportedly consulted an attorney, in response to what they said has been a violation of the default process by COMIDA, which is based upon a “malicious attack” from Reilich.
“We have a contract with COMIDA that provides a clear process,” the Nolans stated. “Their release clearly violates that process, and contains inaccurate information. For COMIDA to fabricate this release this morning in order to back up the GOP Chairman is unimaginable.”
The Nolans said they also intend to file a defamation lawsuit against Reilich.
“Our personal reputation is in jeopardy because of his lies,” they stated.
Following the release of COMIDA’s statement, Reilich responded with the following statement below, Monday:
“The issue I raised with I-Square was not with the developer, but rather with Adam Bello, who is abandoning them during a time of great need. Despite appearances, the documents released by COMIDA clearly show that the project is in jeopardy, and has failed to fulfill its promises to the taxpayers. It is no secret that I-Square received millions of dollars in taxpayer assistance through abatements and grants from the town, school district, county, and state. I certainly recognize the need for that assistance given the state’s dismal business climate, but I also know that taxpayers demand accountability for their investments.”
“I truly believe this project can be successful; I’m just disappointed that Adam Bello has decided to abandon them during this difficult time.”
Reportedly, the developers have not currently defaulted on any payments to the town or school district for the project.