Issuu on Google+ Vol. 13/Number 17 Outta my way! City threatens Lester’s with lawsuit By LIZ BUTTON STAFF REPORTER Sophomore Jack Smith looks to blow by a Byram Hills defender on April 20. Smith and the Garnets are out to a blistering start in 2013 and are currently undefeated. For more, see back page. Photo/ Mike Smith City Council to rebid police uniform contract By ASHLEY HELMS STAFF REPORTER The City Council voted unanimously to completely rebid for its police uniforms following the arrest of John Holmes, owner of New England Sportswear in White Plains, who is accused of providing a fraudulent warranty in order to gain a clothing contract from the city. Councilwoman Laura Brett, a Republican, said that she was able to discover that New England Sportswear was not a permitted dealer of Blauer, a uniform manufacturer that the city uses, by searching through Blauer’s website. In fact, the fraudulent warranty wasn’t signed, prompting the city to review its bidding and warranty procedures. “Due diligence on the bid was not met,” Brett said. A viable contract from Connecticut-based New England Uniform was still valid, but the council decided that further review must be conducted and rescinded the bid. This will be the fourth time this year that the city has put a request for bids out for the police department’s uniforms. Police Commissioner William Connors said that the city took the bid from Holmes, who has been working as a city auxiliary police April 26, 2013 officer since 2008, on face value because they had done business with his store in the past. The controversy centers on a possible conflict of interest stemming from Holmes’ involvement in the police department. At a March 20 City Council meeting, when Holmes’ bid was approved, both City Manager Scott Pickup and City Attorney Kristen Wilson said that there wasn’t a conflict of interest because Holmes was an unpaid officer and there had been a competitive bid process. This month, when the bids were rescinded, Councilman Joe Sack, UNIFORM continued on page 11 The city has threatened to file a lawsuit against Lester’s, its current tenant, after final closure proceedings for the 1037 Boston Post Road property’s $5.6 million sale broke down. On April 17, the City Council unanimously voted to commence a lawsuit against Lester’s owner Perry Schorr, who has run the department store out of its current location since 2007, if he did not sign and submit a clean estoppel certificate by Monday at 5 p.m. The lawsuit states Schorr is intentionally obstructing the execution of the city’s purchase and sale agreement with Bill Wolf Petroleum, a Long Island based real estate holdings and gasoline distribution corporation that agreed to purchase the property from the city earlier this year. When contacted by The Rye Sound Shore Review in the days following the council meeting, Schorr said he was not aware of the City Council vote to file the suit. “I signed the estoppel that they sent us,” he said. “We signed that we felt was a correct estoppel. It may not have been satisfactory from their vantage point, but we signed one we felt to be correct.” An estoppel certificate is a document that sets forth the rights of the tenants, according to City Attorney Kristen Wilson. Many landlords of retail lease spaces have their tenants sign one of these agreements, which are designed to give a third party critical information on the relation- ship between landlord and tenant, usually so a prospective buyer can conduct its own due diligence. Estoppel certificates include information such as whether the tenant’s lease is in full force; whether the landlord has paid any required contributions to the tenant; whether the tenant has any existing claims against the enforcement of the lease by the landlord; whether any rent has been paid more than one month in advance; and whether any security has been deposited with the landlord. The city could not close the sale on April 17 because a fully completed estoppel certificate is needed to get title insurance, Wilson said. “From a title insurance perspective, this was not a clean estoppel certificate,” said Wilson. Two weeks ago, Lester’s attorneys sent a note to the city’s legal department to amend the certificate, she said. Since then, she has been in communication with Lester’s attorneys, who maintain that the tenant has a right to first refusal of the sale of the property. It is the city’s position that they do not, she said. Schorr signed a letter of intent with the city in June 2012 to buy the property, but the city signed a contract in March of this year to sell to another bidder, Bill Wolf Petroleum, for $5.6 million. City officials have since said the letter of intent was not a binding document. Negotiations to sell the building to Schorr began in late 2011, but a purchase and sale agreement was never signed. Schorr has said his bid LESTERS continued on page12

Rye Sound Shore Review, 4-26-2013

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