The Selection of a Tenant for the Chappaqua Train Station Depot: What Residents Should Know

Tuesday, June 10, 2014
~ from Supervisor Robert J. Greenstein, Councilwoman Lisa S. Katz, Councilman Adam M. Brodsky

Following is a detailed chronology that led to the recent Town of New Castle Board decision regarding the new café that will be located in the landmarked Chappaqua train station depot.

Like any governing body in a democracy, there are often healthy and spirited debates that precede tough decisions. We all chose public service to make a difference and to make the lives of our constituents better. Yet, it is impossible for any Town Board to agree unanimously on every decision. The best we can do is place the interests of the public first and vote individually with our hearts and minds in that place.

We did that in this case. Four of the five Town Board members voted to award a lease to Leslie Lampert, the owner of Café of Love and Ladle of Love in Mt. Kisco. This came after all of us listened carefully to the presentations made by each applicant.

We share the community’s enthusiasm for creating a beautiful eatery in this historic building that adds to our qualify of life in New Castle. The Town’s efforts to repurpose its train station depot have been over two years in the making. Because a permissive referendum would further delay the use of the train depot as a café, require taxpayer funds to carry out, and force to the Town to forgo receipt of rental income for however long it takes the process to run its course, the Town Board wants residents to be fully informed about its decision last month to award the lease agreement to Leslie Lampert.

Supervisor Robert J. Greenstein
Councilwoman Lisa S. Katz
Councilman Adam M. Brodsky

The Original RFP and Tenant Search

On April 30, 2012, the Town posted a Request for Proposals (“RFP”) on its website seeking proposals for a food service operator to lease the Chappaqua train station depot. The RFP stated that the tenant would be required to provide “breakfast type food service” in the morning to coincide with peak commuting hours.  In addition, the RFP stated that the bathrooms in the depot had to remain open to the public, and that few alterations to the depot itself would be permitted due to its landmark status and historic significance. The RFP explained that the deadline for responses was May 11, 2012, which gave applicants less than two weeks to submit their proposals.

In May 2012, the Town Board heard a presentation from a group headed by former Flying Pig chef Lesley Sutter. Lesley’s presentation called for a 60-seat restaurant with an emphasis on seasonal farm fresh products. The Town hoped to have a restaurant open at the train station during the summer of 2012.

Unfortunately, that was not possible. At that time, the depot building was in need of certain structural improvements, particularly to its interior floor. The Town had received proposals from engineering firms to develop a scope of work for the project, and had awarded the engineering contract to one such firm, but a problem arose with respect to insurance coverage. As a result, the Town withdrew its original contract award and chose to work with a different engineering firm in July 2012.  The engineering work that the Town needed was then performed later that year.

During this period, the Flying Pig group abandoned its restaurant proposal. Although the Town did not reissue its RFP, by February 2013, two new applicants had expressed interest. Carla Gambescia, the owner of Via Vanti!, proposed creating a restaurant similar to the one she already operated at the Mt. Kisco train station. The other proposal that had been presented to the Town Board at that time came from Stetson Hundgen and Arnold Rufino. They proposed opening a café, to be known as the Burdock Natural Cafe at Chappaqua, that would feature healthy food choices using seasonal and sustainable foods. The Town Board heard presentations from both groups in February 2013.

At that time, however, the Town still had not completed the actual structural repairs to the depot building that had been studied the prior year. The Town issued a bid request and awarded a construction contract for the project, but various false starts with contractors delayed the commencement of the work. The Town rescinded a bid award to one contractor, and two other bids were withdrawn by their respective bidders.  Finally, in July 2013, the Town Board approved a $122,660 bid to a contractor to undertake the necessary work and improvements.

In the Fall of 2013, the work on the train station building was completed. In September 2013, the Town and Via Vanti! signed a concession agreement that permitted Via Vanti! to provide coffee and breakfast food service from the train station depot. In addition, the Town began negotiations with Via Vanti! for leasing the space as a restaurant and provided a draft lease to Via Vanti!. Significantly, and despite comments that have been made to the contrary, the Town never signed a lease with Via Vanti!.

On Thanksgiving Day 2013, Via Vanti! finally provided comments to the Town’s draft lease. While apologizing for their delay in reviewing and responding to the draft, Via Vanti! took strong exception to some of the proposed lease provisions, including: (i) Via Vanti!’s not having up to a 6-month rent abatement period; (ii) restrictions on Via Vanti!’s ability to assign the lease, and (iii) concerns about keeping the depot’s public restrooms open during dinner hours when it would be serving meals to patrons of the restaurant.

The Town has been steadfast on keeping the depot’s restrooms open at all times as a convenience to residents. Indeed, the Town’s 2012 RFP stipulated that “at all times that the building is open, there must be public access to the rest rooms.” Nevertheless, Carla advised the Town that she had never seen the original RFP and had been unaware of requirement regarding specific bathroom hours. In an email sent to former Town Supervisor Susan Carpenter on November 28, 2013, Carla stated that keeping the restrooms open to the general public after 11:00 a.m. on weekdays was “not a workable condition for us as it will be disruptive for our guests and an ambiance killer.” By email sent on December 12, 2013, Town Counsel advised Carla that, “Public access to restrooms has always been a condition of this tenancy. No change.”

The 2014 RFP and Expanded Search

Discussions with Via Vanti! continued into early 2014, but did not progress smoothly
due to the restroom access issue and other concerns. In March 2014, Town Supervisor Greenstein announced that the Town would be soliciting additional proposals to lease the train station depot.

By that time, nearly two years had passed since the Town had issued its original RFP. The Town had no way of knowing whether its negotiations with Via Vanti! would lead to a satisfactory lease agreement. Moreover, without having any competing applicants in the mix, the Town had no assurance that it would be obtaining the best possible tenant and lease terms for its residents. At the time, Councilman Brodsky explained, “We were elected to do what’s right and we have a fiduciary responsibility to make the best decision.”

Almost immediately, other applicants expressed interest in the opportunity to lease the train station depot. At a public meeting on March 11, 2014, the Town Board heard presentations from Via Vanti! and Peter and Erin Chase, the principals of a hospitality development and management company. The Town Board encouraged all residents to view the presentations for themselves, either in person at Town Hall or watching the presentations on their televisions or home computers. At another public meeting, the Town Board heard a presentation from Leslie Lampert, the owner of Café of Love and Ladle of Love in Mt. Kisco, who proposed creating a family-style bistro of healthy, soups, stews and artisanal grab-and-go sandwiches. Gerry Petraglia, the owner of the Station Café and Grill at the Hawthorne train station, also appeared before the Board and made a presentation.

On March 19, 2014, the Town issued another Request for Proposals for leasing the train station depot. Responses to the RFP were due on March 28, 2014. The Town encouraged Via Vanti! to submit a response to the RFP so its proposal could be considered. The new RFP required all asked to respond to the same criteria and lease requirements established by the Town. The Town ultimately received timely RFP responses from Via Vanti!, Leslie and the Chases.

The Train Station Lease Is Awarded To Leslie Lampert

After the Town received the RFP responses, it reviewed the proposed financial terms and other information provided by each applicant. Four Board members favored pursuing lease negotiations with Leslie Lampert. The Board directed Town Counsel to negotiate a draft lease and concession agreement with Leslie’s attorney.

On May 20, 2014, the Town Board adopted a resolution (4-1) approving a lease agreement with Leslie Lampert’s company, Love at 10514, LLC, for leasing the train station depot. The Town also approved a concession agreement with Leslie for providing morning breakfast and coffee service to commuters. Four Board members concluded that Leslie’s food service proposal for the train depot would provide the best overall value to our community, while preserving the interior millwork and details of this important historical landmark.

Recent Events

After the Town awarded the depot lease, Carla led the Board to believe that she would coordinate a smooth transition with Leslie insofar as the operation of the coffee and breakfast concession. Thus, when Carla asked the Town to allow her to operate the coffee/breakfast concession during the month of May 2014, which was beyond the term of her concession agreement with the Town, the Town agreed. Carla assured the Town, through her attorney, that she would vacate the concession space in the depot on May 31, 2014, which would allow Leslie to take over the operation on Monday, June 2, 2014. The Board publicly thanked Carla and the Chases for their interest in leasing the train depot and encouraged them to look for other leasing opportunities within our community.

On Friday, May 30, 2014, Carla and the Chases announced that they had joined together and planned to obtain signatures on a petition calling for a permissive referendum. Carla also advised the Town that she would not vacate the concession stand at the depot, despite her prior representations that she would, and that she would sue the Town if the Town tried to remove her from that space.

The Referendum Process

A permissive referendum is essentially a popular vote that may be taken to approve
or disapprove certain specific governmental actions, including the leasing of public property. To trigger such a vote, a petition calling for the referendum must be signed by at least 5% of the registered voters in the Town of New Castle who voted in last gubernatorial election.

If the Town receives a valid petition for a referendum, the Town will be required to make arrangements to conduct a town-wide vote, similar to what it does for general elections. The Town estimates that the cost of holding the referendum will run approximately $5,000 – $10,000. Under the applicable statutory timeframes, the referendum would likely be held in early September 2014. If the Town’s award of the train depot lease and/or concession agreement is annulled, the Town would likely conduct another RFP process, as its goal of leasing the train station depot has not changed.

We encourage civil, civic discourse. All comments are reviewed before publication to assure that this standard is met.

There are 5 people on the town board. Why is this letter only signed by “team new castle” members?

By Just wondering on 06/10/2014 at 4:56 pm

Outrageous email to Carpenter! Carla must go. Boycott Via Vanti!

By bob on 06/10/2014 at 5:25 pm

The content of this is letter is less important than the manner and the authors. Last time I checked there were 5 elected town board members. On this train station lease 4 TB members voted to award Leslie Lambert the lease. So why is this letter written by only 3 TB members?
This again proves the alienation and polarization created by these 3 Team New Castle amatuers. They act and operate on their own. This letter is written not by the entire 5 member board or even the 4 members that voted in favor. It is written only by Team New Castle. It sends a horrible message.

By Resident on 06/10/2014 at 6:23 pm

Since only 3 of the 5 town board members put their names to this are we to assume the other 2 don’t agree with the events as described? Is this Team New Castles version of the truth? What say the others?
This is very sad. A 5 member town board is so polarized and so dysfunctional that they can’t speak with one voice. Team New Castle is tearing this town apart.

By I wonder on 06/10/2014 at 6:34 pm

Yes Elise.  What say you ?

By Elise ? on 06/10/2014 at 7:32 pm

I am sure Jason and Elise can reply why they did not sign the letter (actually no one signed the letter physically), but life is a little more complex when all the decisions aren’t made by Carpenter and her handlers.  By all means, who cares about the substance, just focus on the content.

By The chains are off on 06/10/2014 at 7:48 pm

How much did residents pay our new attorneys to review or maybe even write this letter?

By follow the money on 06/10/2014 at 8:16 pm

This apologia is notable not just for who did not sign it but also for what it chose to sidestep.  Elsewhere on this site Gambescia raised a number of basic questions including:

“Why did the Board focus on the low bidder to the exclusion of the other two more robust proposals?”

“Why did it cost so much and take so long?”

“Why did the Board decide to grant a 5-year lease extension option – not part of the original RFP – given that no investment in capital improvements was being proposed?”

No answers here from Team New Castle.

All of which only raises even more troubling questions.  So much for transparency.

By TRJ on 06/10/2014 at 8:30 pm

Reassuring to see that Team New Castle has no problem jumping into the gutter to engage in an internet argument. Stay classy Team New Castle ….

By Class Act on 06/10/2014 at 8:48 pm

We are an intelligent community your lies aren’t working.

By Wake up Rob on 06/10/2014 at 9:36 pm

Interesting to note the latest on the station was signed ONLY by Team Green. Makes one wonder. My take away is a lot of obfuscation. And why keep trashing Carla? Who cares about the flying pig? Or really why the new RFP happened.  What matters is it happened and happened in a way that in no way seems to uphold standards of fairness. None of this has been addressed in this statement or the particulars of the actual deal. Why a 15 year lease why only work with the low bid? What happened to wanting a place to energize our dead downtown at night? Why a gloried takeout place? And for 15 years to boot. This was not a good deal for the town.

By Conspicuously absent on 06/10/2014 at 10:21 pm

Dear ‘Resident’
I encourage you to do some thinking about your comments and how they reflect upon YOU and the other nattering nabobs of negativism who have taken to this forum to blame the weather and other crimes on Supervisor Greenstein.
There may come a time when some real and reasoned political discussion is required in this town. That time is not now. This is not a real issue or controversy. It is being trumped up by immature and irresponsible town residents. I fear that when we do have real, substantive issues to discuss, we won’t be able to debate them effectively given the tone of the discourse on these insignificant matters. But right, when that time comes, you’ll blame Supervisor Greenstein. Your self-righteousness is getting a little tiring.

By let’s be reasonable on 06/10/2014 at 10:40 pm

I watched the town board meeting on tv tonight and shook my head the whole time Adam Brodsky made his speech.  If he wanted what’s best for New Castle, why take the lowest bidder and spend $9k+ to haggle her up to the highest bid and be stuck with it for a whole 15 year term?  If they didn’t want more than a concession stand, the RFP should have said so.  The process was messed up, Brodsky and the others were clearly not out for what’s best for the town but what was easiest, and listening to Mr. Brodsky talk about his role and disparaging Via Vanti made me shake my head in disbelief that he believes what he was saying.

By Town Board Watcher on 06/10/2014 at 11:27 pm

The article title should read:  The Selection of a Tenant for the Chappaqua Train Station Depot: What Team New Castle Wants the Residents To Think.

By Bab on 06/10/2014 at 11:31 pm

Thank you Rob for sending this letter out. Now the town can see that you and the TB did nothing wrong with the process of issuing the RFP or your decision. Everyone needs to be mindful that not all questions need to be answered. Just because someone asks, does not mean you are required to answer. President Obama doesn’t answer every question- that is politics.

Clearly the board has spoken with regards to the future of the town at the train station. Everyone should read the last paragraph again- it shows that the board is firm with their decision of choosing Love at 10514 at the station. If this goes to a referrendum and their vote is overturned, they will issue another RFP- what does that tell you?

It tells you that they believe their choice is who they want at the station. And while some do not agree- most people do. In politics you cannot please everyone all of the time- such is life.

Carla, Erin and Peter- your fight was tough, but it is over. You have now read that no matter what you do, even if the vote is overturned- they will start the process all over again.  It cannot benefit you in any capacity to continue. Walk away and know you have it your best shot- this would benefit the town more than years of uncollected rent and legal fees. I hope you are concerned about the town more than you are concerned about your own personal needs.

By Over and Thrilled on 06/11/2014 at 6:32 am

“On March 19, 2014, the Town issued another Request for Proposals for leasing the train station depot. Responses to the RFP were due on March 28, 2014.”

You gave businesses less than 2 weeks to decide if they want to open a place in New Castle, understand the areas and perform and analyze site reviews, figure out what kind of place they want to open, consider the strategic and financial (including loans they would need and cash flow), and personal implications, make a plan, and then draw up a proposal based on the plan, have it reviewed by their attorney, iterate through the process to make sure they dot their i’s and cross their t’s AND YOU EXPECTED THE BEST PROPOSAL FOR OUR COMMUNITY?

I’ll bet most prospective bidders never even heard about the opportunity and of those that did, most realized they couldn’t get it done it time.

By Was the winner pre-selected? on 06/11/2014 at 10:23 am

Calls for reasonableness will fall on death ears. Those you are addressing don’t read these articles. They simply wait for a new one, then paste in the same old language that has been fed to them by those politicians so eager to regain power that they will stoop so low as to harm the community.

By bob on 06/11/2014 at 10:51 am

The establishment Via Vanti! will forever be recognized by an owner who was not truthful. People should boycott Via Vanti! based on the principal that their owner tried to manipulate a town into fighting her battle based on false information about the Town Board.In turn it has been found out that she was the person who was not truthful-watch the proposal on line, it is all there.

Greed & Jealousy are terrible traits to have…. they cloud someones judgement and can cause them to lose everything while trying to prove an unattainable point!

The Town Board chose someone who they feel will fit the needs of the town- there is no reason to pursue the referendum and it seems that the board will stand firm with their decision. If it goes to a vote and we have to start the process all over again- The Town is the one that really loses.

By boy cott! on 06/11/2014 at 11:10 am

Reading this and hearing Adam’s explanation at last evening’s town board meeting leaves me sad.
Adam is such a nice fellow and I do believe him when he says that he wants to do right by the town.  Unfortunately, this, his first challenge has brought the town less than what should be.
It is less in every way.  Less financial returns, less amenities, less service, less in beneficial upgrades to the train station.  And for ten years.  And for some reason this “deal” cost the town over $10,000 in legal fees. 

Try, as Adam and the other 3 members, Elise Mottel, Lisa Katz and of course, Supervisor Grenstein may argue that this was not what the town wants and it is not a good deal. 

This was a fail. A poor deal on every count.  The town board should learn to listen to the residents that it was elected to represent.  This deal does not represent their best interests.

By less is not more on 06/11/2014 at 11:47 am

On Count 1: Carla is a liar
On count 2: Carla is a sore loser

By The jury has returned their verdict on 06/11/2014 at 12:11 pm

Let’s not forget the forest for the trees.  You can not have three experienced food and beverage operators submit proposals to operate a food and beverage operation in the train station and then select from all, the lowest proposed rent, the lowest committed financial investment in our town owned depot, the shortest RFP at only 1.5 pages and the only candidate that does not pay taxes to the town of New Castle, without an intelligent populace asking what happened?  This is what the petition seeks to remedy for all and it does double duty by keeping our elected officials in check.

By FFT on 06/11/2014 at 12:22 pm

The facts speak for themselves.  Onto a real issue.

By Enough already on 06/11/2014 at 12:41 pm

Four of the five Town Board members voted to award a lease to Leslie Lampert.  Apparently voting with Team New Castle is acceptable.  But signing off on a factual letter crosses the line with the New Castle Democrats.

By Some progress on 06/11/2014 at 1:12 pm

Why or why does this “truthful” statement deliberately skip over the details of Adam’s dealings with Carla?

By Hmmm on 06/11/2014 at 2:12 pm

Why also does this statement skip over the irregular RFP process?

By Hmmmm on 06/11/2014 at 2:26 pm

Once the petition is filed, pursuant to state law, it is up to the Town Board to decide whether to resolve this issue by (a) the Board, on its own, rescinding the train station lease resolution without a public vote; or (b) holding a public referendum to approve or disapprove the resolution. Section 93 of N.Y. Town Law states: “Any act or resolution of a town board may be rescinded or repealed at any time by the town board and, in case the resolution so repealed be one subject to a permissive referendum and a petition thereupon be filed, no further proceedings shall be had thereunder and no referendum shall be held.” If the Board votes to rescind, no vote is needed.

By What they can do on 06/11/2014 at 3:41 pm

Team Green states:  “Almost immediately, other applicants expressed interest in the opportunity to lease the train station depot”—referring to Lampert and the Chases I presume.  Both of these folks tossed their hats in the ring well before the RFP was public for a week and generated zero applicants. So, riddle me this Batman, how did Lambert and the Chases find out the station was for lease?

At this point—I’d like to know but I don’t care beyond the fact that I have zero trust in anything Team Green has to say.  What is wrong with you Lisa?

By Riddle me this… on 06/11/2014 at 10:26 pm

These comments seemed to be focused on the Town Board and Ms. Gambescia.  If she were the only one fighting the Board, perhaps we could view her as a sore loser. That’s not what’s happening however. The Chases feel equally aggrieved about the RFP and the bid.  When two out of three bidders say there are problems with the process, it bears closer scrutiny. The Chases’ and Ms. Gambescia’s economics diverge but they are standing together out of principle. They are to be congratulated for helping bring these problems to light in the Town of New Castle.

By Jonathan S. on 06/12/2014 at 12:55 am

I think that all the name calling and purposely misspelling names is just wrong in every way. We are supposed to be trying to improve our community- not tear it apart. Accusations are flying all over the place- people who were once friends now can’t even look at each other. This behavior is simply ridiculous.

As with mayors, governors and even the President of our country- you may not always like their end decision. In this instance there are far more important issues at hand to be wasting time and tax payers money over who will be at the train station. The town board has selected a winner and let’s just end this already. If it goes to a vote the whole process will take a long time. More hatred will develop, more tax payers money will be spent, and more months will go by without collecting rent at the station.

Let’s focus the lens- the town board has made it clear that under no circumstances will they ever have Carla or the Chase’s at the station. If it goes to a vote and they do not like the outcome- they can throw it out and start the RFP process all over again. These actions will again take time, waste tax payers money and have more lost time without rental income for the town.

The town board needs to concentrate on other important issues. They have made their point that this can keeping going on. Actions like this do not benefit the town. Enough said, there was nothing done incorrectly with their process- except that a few people are unhappy with the results.

Such is life- move onward town- put this issue to bed- and let’s get onto another topic.

By The town loses on 06/12/2014 at 7:03 am

Just to clarify, we were engaged in discussions in early February with Mr. Brodsky, long before Supervisor Greenstein’s above stated decision to seek candidates for an RFP in March.  In hindsight, it seems plausible, at least to me, that a strategy to ambush Carla with a gathering of candidates (or if you prefer, pawns) for a half baked “RFP process” was well underway prior to the board’s official announcement a month later.  I will let everyone decide for themselves if something smells a little off with the above timing.

It is worth noting that our real estate broker was asked by Mr. Brodsky to find other restaurant operators for the train station back at the start of February.  Furthermore, she was told that the town would not pay her a commission for assisting with this.  I wonder why?

By Peter Chase on 06/12/2014 at 7:16 am

Interesting that the supervisor titles his memo “what the town needs to know.” It is really what he wants the Town to believe.

By Wrong Title? on 06/12/2014 at 8:03 am

It was an ambush.  An ambush that Elise K. Mottel gladly supported. Why Elise ?  Why did you?
Instead of blindly following the leader why did you not show integrity as your fellow board member Jason Chapin unfailingly does ?  You are following the wrong leaders and you owe your constituents an explanation.  You do not respond to your emails.  Another black mark
to add to the long list of your poor service. 

By Elise K. Mottel ? on 06/12/2014 at 10:41 am

Peter, is it possible that you lost out to someone who is well liked and community minded?  Your presentation was professsionally prepared but very cold.  You lost.  Move on.

By Cold as Ice on 06/12/2014 at 5:56 pm

You shouldn’t be so obvious after spending so much time praising Leslie’s community mindedness on Tuesday.  Rob you keep showing your true colors.

By Cold as Ice – Rob at least you got your name right on 06/12/2014 at 6:39 pm

Ice? The Chase presentation was professional and very cool (not temperature, but cool, man) and Lampert’s was a full court press with five or six employees/associates who sang the praises of their boss and the magical healing powers of soup – and htey handed out soup! I’m pretty sure RFP responders are ALL supposed to be told “Don’t bring stuff”. What was Carla told for her RFP appearance? “Don’t bring food”

Don’t go down that road. The RFP process was all over the place.

By That was totally “cool” – not “ice” on 06/12/2014 at 6:57 pm

Doing nothing to the station has become a virtue in seeking to justify the Board’s poor and illogical decision. The station does not have historic status but is part of a historic district that includes the park to the East where the monument is and the church of Saint Mary the Virgin. Nothing proposed by either the Chases or Carla would alter the character of the property or the district; actually making it more fully functional as a restaurant/bar only enhances its income generating qualities and therefore assures the property’s value and place in the community’s listed historic district. In both of the proposals more is more. More for the hamlet and more “non-residential taxes for the Town. The sorts of improvements proposed would only make the station more valuable. Mr. Brodsky, the lead on this project should know this as he is a real estate guy.


By Less is not More on 06/12/2014 at 7:09 pm

Team New Castle (TNC) is intent on distracting residents’ focus from RFP irregularities and disadvantageous lease terms (e.g., why 15 years with no capital improvements? etc.) But,I am compelled to address the latest distortions related to the now irrelevant matter of evening bathroom access. One not fully informed could mistakenly draw an inference that I have not been forthright or honorable.  This could not be further from the truth. Councilman Brodsky CORRECTLY characterized the matter of the bathrooms in his email to me Feb 11th as a misunderstanding: “ I apologize for this misunderstanding …”

To set the record straight, I have juxtaposed the most recent assertions by Team New Castle with the facts:

TNC ASSERTS: “In September 2013, the Town … provided a draft lease to Via Vanti!”… “On Thanksgiving Day 2013, Via Vanti! finally provided comments to the Town’s draft lease.  While apologizing for their delay in reviewing and responding to the draft…”

THE FACTS: This implies Town delivered a full lease in September (when the coffee concession agreement was signed) and that it took me two months to respond.  It was the Town which delayed in delivering a full lease draft until November 12, 2013.  I responded to the draft, as correctly noted, on Thanksgiving.  My accompanying apology was for taking two weeks, not two months, to review and respond.

to be continued…

By Carla Gambescia on 06/13/2014 at 3:18 pm

TNC ASSERTS: “By email sent on December 12, 2013, Town Counsel advised Carla that, ‘Public access to restrooms has always been a condition of this tenancy. No change.”

THE FACTS. There was NO reference to restroom access in the body of this email.  A revised lease draft, with over twenty-five mark-ups with this being one, was attached. I did not focus on the mark-ups—I wasn’t even working with an attorney at the time—as I had been told the lease would be finalized with the incoming Board.  When Councilman Brodsky and I began our negotiations on Jan 7th I provided him with hard copies of background, emails, and the draft lease with mark-ups. At that time, and as of our final phone conversation on Jan 27th before the process was restated we both viewed and treated the matter of evening bathroom access as negotiable. Further neither Councilman Brodsky or I had any awareness let alone knowledge of the April 2012 RFP during our negotiations.

By Carla Gambescia on 06/13/2014 at 3:19 pm

Finally, TNC has suggested I am refusing to vacate the Coffee concession (misleading) and have threatened to sue the town (false).  I and my morning manager Hugo continue to serve the commuters and I continue to pay rent per the interim concession agreement terms signed September 2103

Detailed clarifications:

TNC: “She [Carla] would not vacate the concession stand at the depot, despite her prior representations that she would …”

THE FACTS.I had planned to turn over the morning concession at the end of May before the permissive referendum process became a reality.  Commuters would not continue to be well served with the inevitable disruptions of a new (and possibly temporary) concession operator if the Board’s lease award were overturned by voters in a referendum or if the Board simply were to vote to rescind the lease assignment, which is their option. 

TNC:“… she [Carla} would sue the Town if the Town tried to remove her from the space.”

THE FACTS:  Any mention of litigation by my attorney,P. Daniel Hollis, was only in response to the Town attorney’s reference to the Town going to court to remove Via Vanti!from the morning concession.

By Carla Gambescia on 06/13/2014 at 3:27 pm

Carla, please just go away.

By Tired of this stupid story on 06/13/2014 at 4:08 pm

Keeping the restrooms open to the public after 11:00 a.m. on weekdays was “not a workable condition for us as it will be disruptive for our guests and an ambiance killer.” From a 2013 email to Susan Carpenter. That’s 11 AM, speaks for itself, and has not been denied.

In fact Carla brought a lawyer to a board meeting and threatened to sue, and at that point it had nothing to do with vacating the morning concession because no winner had been chosen then. Check the tape.

When Carla does sue the town, and she will, it will be interesting to see if the discovery process will reveal just which politicians and political activists have been advising her.

By bob on 06/13/2014 at 4:32 pm

Carla, please just go away is right. Have you misrepresented yourself again by telling everyone that you were not intending to sue the town if they made you leave? It was in Rob’s letter to the town- which by the way, he also included your comments on the restrooms in which you misrepresented yourself then too.

Do you just freely walk around the town and make up things as you go- your comments and riddles are poisonous to the community. The poor Chase’s are associated with you- what a blemish on their spotless record.

Shame how you have not been able to accept loss and are so bitter.

By By I agree with this stupid story on 06/13/2014 at 4:36 pm


Then stop reading.  We residents want the facts.

By anonymous on 06/13/2014 at 5:13 pm

It’s an absolute joke that Greenstein and Brodsky are claiming that public access to the bathrooms was non-negotiable.  At this same time, Greenstein had calls out to local architects to discuss adding a new bathroom to the taxi stand, changing the train station bathrooms so they had outdoor access as well as talking with the gas station about seeing if they could provide public restrooms during evening hours.  Greenstein and Brodsky can look people in the eye when they lie.  That’s something not many people can do.

By Bathroom Bull on 06/13/2014 at 6:15 pm

Greenstein is a rogue actor. It’s conceivable that Brodsky had no idea that RG solicited taxi stand bathroom plans.

By Rogue! on 06/13/2014 at 6:38 pm

Carla, I’m reading this now and want to commend you for everything you are doing.  No doubt it would have been easier to simply move on than spend your time, energy and money on this but I applaud you and the Chases for taking a stand against the Town Board’s activities.  They clearly have no commitment to good government nor what’s best for our town.

I think it was Dr. Who who said, “You can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies.”  Based on those criticizing you in the comments above, I say, keep up the good work!

By Robin Murphy on 06/13/2014 at 7:09 pm

I am not tired of Carla, I respect her.  She writes articulately and residents should pay close attention.  When two parties to a three party competition join together something has gone very wrong.  The Chases have courage too. I respect them too. I gladly signed the petition along with my husband,

By Stephanie S on 06/13/2014 at 9:38 pm

Dr. Who! Well, that’s to be expected.

But we still wait for someone to address Carla’s lies. They are plain to all.

All we get is the same old rhetoric.

By bob on 06/13/2014 at 10:03 pm

Ok. Try it this way.
How do we know the accusations about the rest room machinations are true?
Should be pretty easy to explain.

By bob on 06/13/2014 at 10:13 pm

To all- I would like everyone to be mindful that you were the ones who voted for the town board- which results in you actually supporting the decision that they made. The sore losers can run around and try and get signatures- and they can keep posting and begging the board to change their mind. – none of that matters.

You voted for the board- therefore you endorsed their decisions.  Move on, remove the hatred and name calling. Yes, we know one woman has repeatedly lied to the town- and that is what it is- we don’t have to talk about it forever- she knows what she did and one day will have to own it.

Let’s go forward, welcome the winning choice and move forward from there. Enough said- let’s just go forward and talk about more pressing items

By Townboards vote on 06/14/2014 at 6:36 am

Lies, deceit, wordsmithing, and abhorrent treatment towards Carla and the Chases.  The whole non-process stinks.  Adam and Rob you need to clean up your acts.  You know Carla had an agreement with the Town!  Common on guys.  Make this right.  These are Town residents. Leslie may have at one time , but she lives elsewhere now.  Shame on both of you.

By It Is Clear on 06/14/2014 at 10:30 am

Parsing Carla

Carla writes:

“TNC ASSERTS: “By email sent on December 12, 2013, Town Counsel advised Carla that, ‘Public access to restrooms has always been a condition of this tenancy. No change.”

THE FACTS. There was NO reference to restroom access in the body of this email.  A revised lease draft, with over twenty-five mark-ups with this being one, was attached. I did not focus on the mark-ups…”

The REAL Facts:

There was no mention of public access in the BODY of the email. But there WAS mention of public access to the restrooms in the mark-ups (which is what truly counts). But Carla did not focus on the mark-ups because she still thought she could limit access to the bathrooms.

Carla writes:

“THE FACTS:  Any mention of litigation by my attorney,P. Daniel Hollis, was only in response to the Town attorney’s reference to the Town going to court to remove Via Vanti! from the morning concession.”

The REAL Facts:

But this wasn’t the ONLY time litigation was threatened. Carla brought a lawyer to a previous board meeting to threaten to sue before a winner was even picked and before the issue of the morning concession came about, which was after Carla lost.

By bob on 06/14/2014 at 11:21 am

Bob: Are you blind, or do you just refuse to see? What has been painfully obvious for some time is the bathroom issue was ruse to get rid of via vanti since adam thought he could bring something in for BIG bucks.  From everything that has been written adnausem about this, your guy … oops … Rob’s guy, Adam was in charge of this start to finish dishonorable fiasco.  Adam seems to have been careless and clueless; he didn’t know there was a prior RFP, never bothered to read the lease draft, was either too lazy or just too impolite to call Carla before he sets up meetings for new applicants, calls the station the crown jewel (the perfect venue for take-out), calls himself a true fiduciary of the town, decides a restaurant with bar is not a good idea but doesn’t bother share his feelings. Then he brokers a deal with the low bidder who only plans to buff the floors. This requires the town to make a 15 year commitment (vs. 10 years per the RFP) just so the monthly rent doesn’t look too embarrassing compared to the other proposals or raise too many eyebrows.  All this costs the town bucks in attorney’s fees. This is not about Carla.  This is about the conduct of elected officials.

By Bob, Are you blind? on 06/14/2014 at 1:30 pm

The town knows you change events to suit your needs well we aren’t buying it. What you did broke all sorts of town codes and I’ll bet my life some open meetings laws were also broken. If anyone should go away it should be team new castle

By Team liars on 06/14/2014 at 2:49 pm

If rob was seen fleeing from town hall with a fistful of hundreds would you still be a true believer? If even Robin Murphy is disappointed with rob we know things
are going to hell in a hand basket. Adam asked his commercial broker to find possible tenants for the depot before Carla was advised the space would not be hers. That smells a bit fishy, no? And if we are worried about $$ how about we abandon the lawsuit against the former administrator and save some $$ that way? Oh and be sure to read the last paragraph of the article on A23 of the NYTimes today and see what Rob thinks. Here it is:

Ordering property valuations for high-profile residents is a delicate situation for local municipalities, Mr. Greenstein said.

“You love the fact that they live in your town, and you don’t want to hurt them, especially when these political issues come up,” he said. “But by the same token, you have to make sure you treat everybody fairly.”

Treat everyone fairly unless he decides not to…

By Oh bob… on 06/14/2014 at 4:00 pm

Who’s lying? I don’t think it is Carla!

By Resident on 06/14/2014 at 4:57 pm

Please stop handing out flyers and begging for votes. Many of are busy with full lives and don’t have even 30 seconds to hear the sobbing stories about the board. We are commuters trying to get to work- not individuals who have all the time in the world to listen to why you think the system wasn’t effective. Start caring about the environment and stop wasting paper on flyers that are being thrown in the garbage. Don’t you care about anything other than getting signatures? Please- I just want to get to work and not have to see this same drama over and over.

By Train station platform on 06/15/2014 at 12:41 pm

From that Times article mentioned above:

“Mr. Cuomo’s campaign claimed that the new property assessment was politically motivated, since the home had not been reassessed by the town in the six years that Ms. Lee owned the home, while the town was under Democratic leadership.”

By bob on 06/15/2014 at 1:06 pm

Just remember Greenstein was the one who did not want to rectify the Lee Assessment until the Journal News pushed him on it.  He was happy to let it go.

By Bottom Line on 06/15/2014 at 4:44 pm

I commute and would hardly say that anybody is begging for or harassing anyone for signatures. Nobody who was there would say that’s what happened unless they have a vested interest.  If that is happening, be sure to get it on videotape and post it.

By commuter on 06/15/2014 at 6:47 pm

Hey bob – from that same NY Times article – ” Mr Greenstein is a registered DEMOCRAT”.

By Get real bob on 06/15/2014 at 9:39 pm

And who tipped the Journal News?

By bob on 06/16/2014 at 7:36 am

Took the train this morning. Certainly nobody was harassing anyone for signatures but many seemed happy to sign. Who doesn’t love democracy in action? 

The town board should simply rescind the lease and start over.

By Commuter on 06/16/2014 at 10:03 am

Oh, but during the election you told us that Greenstein wasn’t a “real” democrat (as defined by the New Castle Democrats maybe). But perhaps that was just an election ploy that didn’t work and you now recognize him as a democrat. Nice of you I’m sure.

By bob on 06/16/2014 at 11:16 am

Party affiliation aside, bob, purported, registered or otherwise, how can you not acknowledge the irregularities with this process? If you were a small business owner and tried to open a new business and found out that there has been an end run around your proposal you would be apoplectic and the first out of the gate to castigate Adam and his posse.

By bob bob bob….!! on 06/16/2014 at 10:25 pm

Applicants fib. Disrupts the “process.”

By bob on 06/17/2014 at 12:38 pm

Repeated falsehoods also disrupt the process

By Fibber bob on 06/17/2014 at 5:09 pm

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