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Boyd joins Stanford to rescind purchase offer, other legal issues arise

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LOWVILLE — A second legislator has joined Paul M. Stanford, D-Watson, in regretting Monday’s decision to purchase Lewis Lanes for $1 million and plans to support him in his effort to rescind the resolution.

John O. Boyd, D-New Bremen, said he and Mr. Stanford based their votes on a lie about the property appraisal told to them by Legislative Chairman Michael A. Tabolt, R-Croghan.

“I am agitated. Paul and I were hoodwinked,” Mr. Boyd said. “In the parking lot at the bowling alley last Thursday, Mike Tabolt explained it all. He said it was done.”

Mr. Stanford said he will introduce a resolution at Tuesday’s board meeting to rescind the original agreement.

“I’m going to rescind it based on the illegalities of the purchase. (Mr. Tabolt) said the appraisal was done. He said it had been done by Don Coon on Saturday and it came in at $1.1 million,” Mr. Stanford said.

Rescinding the resolution would require a minimum of six votes, which Mr. Stanford and Mr. Boyd said they believe they can get with support of the four legislators who voted against the purchase Monday.

This could pose another problem, however, as a contract for the purchase already has been signed.

Jack T. Bush, R-Brantingham, said that wouldn’t sway him from supporting Mr. Stanford.

“I voted no the first time and I am not changing my vote. If we get sued, we get sued,” Mr. Bush said.

The contract, which was dated Monday, contains information that several legislators said they knew nothing about.

“The closing date shall take place on or about December 15, 2013,” the contract says.

The county then would allow the owners to operate the bowling alley until May 15, collecting $1,000 a month rent until then.

Richard C. Lucas, R-Barnes Corners, said he would support the new resolution and was unaware that the county would be acting as landlord for 4 months or that a contract had been signed.

“I voted against that late resolution. I had no idea we were entering into a contract. I thought we were agreeing to make a purchase offer with contingencies. If the contingencies were met, then we would enter into a contract,” he said.

William J. Burke, R-West Lowville, Mr. Bush and Mr. Boyd all said they did not know about the closing date or the rental agreement.

Mr. Stanford said, after learning the new information, “I didn’t know this. Now I am even more against it.”

He also disagrees with the manner in which the building will be appraised.

Donald G.M. Coon III, Watertown, said he will appraise the property next week, and explained the process of the appraisal.

Because it no longer will be used as a bowling alley, it will be appraised as its intended use as an office building.

Mr. Coon used a farm on Lake Ontario as an example of how the process works. If used as a farm, the land may be appraised at only $6,000 an acre. If its intended use was to be subdivided as lakefront property, it could be valued at $20,000 an acre.

The bowling alley is a seasonal business and could be expected to be appraised lower than a full-time office building.

“That’s the way it was presented to us,” Mr. Stanford said, “and I think that was wrong.”

He said he now has doubts about whether the bowling alley was actually going to close or be put up for sale.

Mr. Tabolt on Wednesday afternoon said he did not know Mr. Boyd also had changed his mind about the bowling alley decision.

“I don’t know how we can even pretend to do this,” Mr. Tabolt said. “We had a majority vote to sign the purchase offer.”

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