The Finger Lakes Boating Museum Board of Trustees has rocked the boat!
In a letter delivered to city officials Wednesday, museum officials wrote to City Manager Matt Horn informing the city of their decision to pull out of the Geneva Lakefront project. City Council members were then alerted by email.
President of the Finger Lakes Boating Museum Board of Trustees Vince Scalise, says it's not what was intended of the project.
The letter says a city demand that the museum board have $589,000 in hand as a condition of the lease agreement "represents a clear and unequivocal breach of both the terms and spirit of the museum agreement".
This is where the old Chamber of Commerce office and visitor's center once stood. Photo by Greg Cotterill, Finger Lakes News Radio.
Back in September Scalise made it know he was upset with some Geneva City Council members who held a special meeting to discuss contingency plans if fundraising for the project falters.
In a written statement delivered to Finger Lakes News Radio, Scalise says, " While these Council members neither asked us if their concerns were well founded, nor invited us to their "special meeting" to discuss their apparent misgivings, we want to be sure they know that we believe our fund raising efforts are on track and going extremely well." Later in the statement Scalise added that, "negativism can be a powerful derailer".
What stood as the former Chamber building was demolished by the city last month. The Finger Lakes Boating Museum Project was meant to be up for bid this week. January 2nd the Council will discuss the proposed lease agreement with the museum and their withdrawal from the project.
FULL FINGER LAKES BOATING MUSEUM LETTER TO CITY OFFICIALS
This letter is in response to your letter of November 8, 2012. Reference is made to that certain letter agreement by and between the City of Geneva, NY and the Finger Lakes Boating Museum, dated as of September 1, 2009 (the “Museum Agreement’’), pursuant to which the City made certain commitments to the Museum regarding the location and funding of new Museum facilities on the City’s waterfront property. We have expressly and repeatedly informed the City of various and substantial concerns we have had relating to the manner in which the City has chosen, with little or no input or agreement from us, to progress this project. We believe its actions and omissions in this regard, specifically its new demand that the Museum provide evidence of funds in-hand of $589,000 as a condition to the execution of the lease, represents a clear and unequivocal breach of both the terms and spirit of the Museum Agreement. Accordingly, and for the reasons stated in private meetings with City officials and, more specifically, in letters delivered to the City Manager and Mayor on October 3, 12 and 23, this letter is to advise the City that the Museum’s Board of Trustees has determined it can no longer support participation in this venture.
The Board’s conclusion will be a bitter disappointment to the Museum’s friends and supporters, many of whom have spent countless hours in an attempt to make the new Museum facilities a reality for both the Museum and the City. However, and given the City’s apparent decision to move this project in an alternative direction, the Museum has no real choice. We believe the City’s decisions of late regarding the negotiations and execution of a definitive lease agreement, and other matters, ensure the failure of the museum project, thus opening the way for the City to move in an alternative direction, not withstanding the stated purpose for which the grant funds have been made available.
As fiduciaries with respect to the taxpayer funds committed, in whole or in part, to the construction of the new Museum facilities, the Board of Trustees will be advising certain state officials and the grant administering agencies that this project is being, and has been for several weeks, progressed with a total disregard for the Museum’s interests and concerns, all to the point that the project no longer affords a viable option for the Museum. In addition, and in light of the substantial amounts of money the Museum has spent on fundraising and related activities in reliance upon the commitment of the City contained in the Museum Agreement, you are advised that the Board feels compelled to further assess the legal and equitable remedies available to it as a result of the City’s breach.