In email exchange with Greenstein, Chases characterize town’s process as “no process”
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Editor’s Note: In a follow up to Open Letter to TB members: New Castle doesn’t deserve “good”—it deserves “great”, NCNOW.org, 5/19/14, by Peter and Erin Chase, Supervisor Rob Greenstein emailed the couple to explain the Board’s thinking in choosing Leslie Lampert’s proposal for the use of the Chappaqua Train Station space. His email and the Chases’ email response follow.
Erin & Peter,
I’m sorry that you were disappointed with the process!
The decision for the Town Board in this case required us to determine what would best serve the needs of our residents and provide the best overall value to our community. After careful consideration and review of the presentations, the majority of the Board voted to accept the proposal by Leslie Lampert to open an establishment called Love at 10514.
One of the Town Board’s concerns in terms of leasing the Train Station Depot was the nature of the renovations that would be required to allow the building to function as a restaurant. A majority of the Board believed that converting the interior of the Depot into a full service restaurant was not in the taxpayers’ best interests. In our view, Leslie’s proposal meets the needs of our community and provides the best re-adaptive use of Depot’s beautiful interior space.
We strongly encourage you to consider other locations in our Town to open a restaurant and join our business community!
From: Peter and Erin Chase
Subject: Re: Chappaqua Train Station
Date: May 21, 2014 at 6:29:25 PM EDT
Robert and the Board,
I think you may have our proposal mistaken with someone else. At no time have we conveyed that we wanted to open a “full service restaurant”. We proposed “a market space with an adjacent room for seating”. If you go back and review our presentation to you and the board on March 11th, at the 20:03 mark Peter states “because we are not a full blown restaurant”. As to your comment about full service, the only time there would be staff serving tables would be in the evening hours. For breakfast and lunch guests would purchase food in the La Track space and then would enjoy their meal in either the main room, outside on the terrace, or on their way to the next stop. During our presentation Peter also states “any one considering a full blown restaurant, it’s going to be tough, there is no backup storage”.
In our answers to the RFP we also stated we do not need gas or propane for cooking and we would not be cooking with grease so we did not need to worry about disposing of grease. All of these responses to the town’s RFP questions should indicate to any landlord that we are not proposing a restaurant. In fact, one of our answers states “based on our offering, we do not anticipate large volumes of refuse common to a normal restaurant operation.” Additionally, we stated that we would “redesign the existing La Track space to function more efficiently as a food based market” . No where in our proposal do we use the word restaurant. We also state “our goal is to retain almost everything that exists”. Our initial offer of rent was $3,246 per month knowing that in negotiations back and forth we were probably going to end up paying upwards of $3,500 per month. In last nights work session you stated that the lease with Love at 10514 is for 10 years with a 5 year renewal option with rent initially at $3,300 per month, with some escalation, that was not noted. $3,300 is below fair market rent for the Train Station.
We love the history of the train station and even spent time at the New Castle Historical Society to find out more information on the train station. As business owners we cannot just open in any space that is vacant, we believe that a restaurant is not just about what food is served it is about the entire offering and that includes the actual building. Yes there are spaces available in Chappaqua, but we truly loved the train station and wanted to celebrate its history.
We have submitted a full copy of our proposal to NewCastleNow.org. The public can decide for themselves if you made the best decision for our town. It is a shame our elected officials did not take the time to fully vet all applicants to ensure the Train Station tenant would be the right tenant for the town, especially because we, as residents, are the ultimate landlord of the Train Station.
Yes, we all should be disappointed in the process as there truly was no process.
Erin & Peter Chase
I believe your board should reconsider your decision instead of trying to defend what can’t be defended. You chose a 1.5 page proposal which proposed to bring the community less revenue and offers no detailed vision of what the establishment would be like simply because you “know” the applicatants. It appears obvious no real consideration was given to the Chases credentials or what purchasing a home in the community says about their commitment and love for the place you call home. Your boards job was to “get to know” the applicants for your benefit and the community. The Chases showed you through their detailed proposal and their professional resume everything your boarded needed if you really wanted to “know them”. Since I’m quite sure the board receives no benefit from which applicant wins the bid other than how it benefits the community, your board owes it to the community to restart your process so that every applicant, whether you personally “know” them or not has a fair shot at providing the town with a valuable service.
Yet another attempt at covering the TB and particularly Rob and Adam’s behinds that makes no sense when you have been paying attention to the details of the train station lease process. I have no firm preference who takes the station but I am rather shocked at the TB’s handling of this including the lies that Rob and Adam decide to float in the community. This is no way to attract businesses. It reflects badly on our community. The conduct is unethical and often just plain stupid. The minimizing renovations explanation makes no sense when it comes to the Chases. They were upgrading things like electrical but it seems the interior changes are not how Rob has chosen to depict them.
Unfortunately this is the history of Town Hall, they manuever the applicant to come out of Town Hall feeling that their ambition to get anything done is a futile effort. Town Hall has had a long and traditional manner about not wanting to clearly understand the applicant, and only, clearly understanding those applicants that line up with their own agenda. Rightfully or wrongfully, Team Green was voted into office to put in place a process that would eliminate the negative ‘feeling’ as to how all applicants across the board feel when entering the mix as to how Town Hall conducts the business of the community. I hope going forward, that Town Hall can come to recognize the frustration of the Chase application and really try and remove from Town Hall all the outside influences that would create such a level of mistrust. Town Hall seems to still be a place that creates more frustration, than provides solutions. Perhaps Greenstein should tour the train station while discussing why he rejected the Chase application vs. approving the other. Perhaps we should place the Chase’s on an advisory panel that is the watchdog for getting business applicants approved. Their situation is only the tip of the iceberg that Team Green was suppose to chip away at.
to the Chases
While I’m sure you’re disappointed, you will be better off taking your talents elsewhere so you won’t have to deal with this sorry administration ever again.
If Mr. Brodsky actually told the Chase’s as they claim the bid was awarded to Leslie Lampert because “she is a known quantity and no one knows who Erin and Peter Chase are”, sounds more like a confession that despite all the efforts the Chase’s and perhaps other bidders put into their RFP responses, they never had a chance. Are there no town bylaws which protect against this type of behavior? Was there actually a prerequisite on the RFP which stated Mr. Brodsky had to know the applicants? If not, how could that be a valid reason for dismissing their bid? Did Mr. Brodsky poll the town to determine who knew and didn’t know the Chases? They have two young children, I’m sure some of us have met them. Leslie Lampert, who is also a nice person was also injured by winning an unfair process. She deserves to win or lose based on her bid’s merits. I’m sure she had no part in this “inside job” decision, yet that is what many people will think when they visit the train station. I believe the Board should either restart the process or be replaced. This is an embarrassment to Chappaqua and is not reflection on the will of its citizenry. What if the Chases were a minority who didn’t happen to know Mr. Brodsky and the Board. What would that have looked like? All the bidders, including the Chases and Ms. Lampert, deserve our apologies. Let’s give this process the dignity Chappaqua deserves.
this is a total debacle; first the board wanted to revitalize downtown with something special in the “crown jewel” (and they receive two proposals that attempted to do that). then they tell us they really didn’t mean that so to rationalize selecting the proposal offering the least in terms of an amenity for the community (not to mention that this was the low bid to start—did they even bother to negotiate with the Chases and Via Vante?) what is up with that? it also doesn’t seem that any of the proposals were suggesting making changes to the station that would take away from its’ vintage appearance—more blathering from rob. if california and wisconsin can have recalls why can’t we?
Whether or not you support the past administration, the current administration, and will choose to vote in a different administration in the future. I would like to suggest that we get this administration to pass Municipal laws that will not impact their current term, but all future terms of any elected, appointed, or volunteered position found in Town Hall.
Because New Castle is a bedroom community and really does not pay attention to what really is taking place under the roof of town hall, we as a community should have the ability to recall or oust any elected, appointed, or volunteered town official, and also have a process to remove any sitting member on any of the Town Boards, or advisory panels. If individuals in our community are willing to collect signatures and assemble a process to remove anyone from town hall; then such ambition and motivation as conducted by fellow community residents, as supported by the community should be respected and allowed by law.
Do we have such laws, rules, and regulations, and guidelines as to how these kinds of matters can be executed upon? If not, I think Team Green should take up this issue and make it a reality without it affecting their time in office. We should start this kind of ‘rule’ with the next election. Our town budgets, school budgets, and financial economic health of New Castle is too fragile to endure individuals whose efforts hurt the functions of town hall, and therefore the community as a whole. I think all political parties should support this kind of request.
Thought this was about the restroom usage issue? Now it’s because Ladles was a known quantity? How will we ever attract new businesses if we oresent as not welcoming to “outsiders”. Are we now xenophobes?
To those citizens of New Castle who voted in the current town administration, this is unfortunately the result of your having bought the bill of goods sold to you by Greenstein et al. No administration is or has been perfect, but this one portends a substantially diminished level of service to our community, easily evidenced by this apparent display of favoritism and lack of protocol. The onus is on all of us to seek whatever means are legally available to push back, and certainly to boot them out of office at election time. This is not a party issue; it’s one of personality and personal agendas.
This is just another example of the “Great and Powerful” Rob getting his way. He should be ashamed of the way the other applicants were treated. The flying monkeys should be set on him.
New York State doesn’t permit recalling elected officials, even if they are convicted of corruption.
In terms of voting, Greenstein is only one vote. Lisa and Adam makes his rule powerful!
Re: No recall allowed – I never knew that New York State did not allow the residents of the State the inability to use the power of recall. I also never knew that if elected officials are convicted of corruption that we still can’t recall them. What can both Party(s) being Democrat and Republican do in order to allow the process of a recall action when its residents would like to undertake such actions to start such a process? How can we get this law to become the law of the land throughout New York State, and could the power of this web site some how start such effort? It would be a noble effort to see come to reality! I don’t see any reason why either party would be against such a law.
If a elected official is convicted of a felony and almost all corruption charges are a felony they are either forced out of office, subject to impeachment or removal by the governor. But best of all they all go to jail.
We are in the Southern District of New York. The United States Attorney for the District is great at finding corruption and prosecuting it.
However favoritism or negligence is not always corruption. Nor is arrogance.
Can’t recall but you can report corrupt officals, elected and non-elected.
Just remember what Ed Koch said when he lost, you voted me out now you suffer.
Elected officials want to protect themselves and would never give the citizens the right to take away their power. Sad but true.