Fulton County Express

CAROGA – The town board has decided to rescind the previous donation agreement that accepted the stipulations connected to Sherman’s Amusement Park acquisition.
The board decided last Thursday it would accept the donation, but not be required to follow the specific agreements originally accepted by the board.
Upon the recommendation of outside counsel, the board decided to rescind the March 11 vote accepting the terms of the original donation agreement. Through the new resolution the town will still hold the deed and continue to maintain ownership of the property, but is now “free and clear” of the responsibilities of the previous agreement.
“We satisfied a lot of the concerns that a few of our residents brought up,” Town Supervisor Ralph Ottuso said. “I still think this wasn’t a very good way to treat a donation.”
The resolution states that the unconditional property donation will be accepted subject to Planning Board approval of the subdivision parcels.
Ottuso said previous owner George Abdella was willing to remove the requirements within the agreement.
Abdella didn’t return a phone call seeking comment.
The committee assigned to review the original donation agreement previously said the Planning Board never reviewed and voted on the agreement, as stipulated within the charter. The committee also said through the agreement Abdella changed the parcel size of a portion of property located on the east side of Route 10 which was a subdivision not properly reviewed and approved by the Planning Board.
The committee previously collected signatures to force a referendum.
An Article 78 proceeding was filed in Fulton County Supreme Court after Ottuso said the town wouldn’t put the decision to a public vote.
According to the court document, the primary arguments alleged that Ottuso exceeded his authority by accepting the donation by himself; town officials were arbitrary and capricious by voting to accept the donation months after Ottuso originally signed the deed; and the Town Board failed to exercise due diligence by failing to look into the liabilities the acquisition could have on the town.