Monday, March 9, 2009
BCT Front Page "Burlington Coat Factory to consider sale of real estate" Monday March 9, 2009
It took the BCT two weeks after this Blog did a story 2/23/09, about the Burlington Coat Factory listing its property in Edgewater Park for sale as well as the latest 21 million in just completed improvements.
In the BCT story today 3/9/09 (story link), you will read that Mayor Mount (Atzert) claims, "even if the building ultimately ends up being owned by another company, it should not affect the agreement as long as the building serves the same purpose."
The BCT quoting Mount;"If the essential nature of the use remains the same, i.e., a warehouse operation, we expect that the PILOT agreement would remain in effect."
According to former township committee members, the agreement does not allow for any changes in ownership, and that the PILOT agreement is void if there is a change in ownership of the property. We will post a copy of the Burlington Coat Factory PILOT Agreement, signed by both the Township and the Coat Factory back in 2001, when we receive copy from the former committee members.
The change of ownership also may affect the $2 million building loan to Burlington Coat Factory made by Burlington County Dept. of Economic Development in 2000/2001 (the listed corporation for the EP property is/was a wholly owned corporation of the BCF) according to Mark Remsa, the Dept. Director.
The BCT story also states according to Administrator/Clerk Linda Dougherty, "that under the agreement, the Township Committee decides each year how much money is allocated from the Coat Factory's payments for municipal government, schools and fire districts."
As far as we know the Township Committee has only given money from the annual PILOT payments in 2003, to the school district. The Fire District has never received any money from the township PILOT agreement, according to a member of the Fire Commission. !!!! We have a correction!!!! The Fire District did receive a small payment in 2002 from the Township, but none since.
The BCT story has a problem with its story because the statements made by Township Officials for this BCT story is that the Township Officials provided no documentation for their positions and the BCT reporter didn't ask for the documentation to substantiate the official's statements to verify what he was told.
The problem for the Edgewater Park Taxpayer with this story, is that the Mayor Mount (Atzert) and Township Administrator/Clerk most likely checked with the Township Solicitor, before making any statements to the BCT reporter. Guess what? The township solicitor, William Kearns, was the attorney who represented the Coat Factory when the PILOT agreement was negotiated back in 2000/2001, according to former Township Committee Members. We think that the township needs to get legal advise from an experienced attorney who doesn't have this conflict.
To this Post 'best friend', who likes to cast doubt on what is posted here with his/her comments, this story represents the importance of Edgewater Park, NJ Happenings and post like it, to inform and get facts to the public, that unfortunately our local papers do not. The BCT and others do not check the information feed to them from our public officials, but only regurgitate it in the articles they publish.
More to follow,
The Edgewater Park Reporter