NORSU responds to Dr. Nancy Hackett
August 6, 2014 —
NORSU response to comments made by Sullivan West School Superintendent, Dr. Nancy Hackett in the July 31, 2014 River Reporter:
Hackett said that “a formal bidding process was not used; a best and final offer procedure was used.” When public lands and public funds are at stake, the governing agency does not have the liberty to vary from a standard legal bid procedure, which requires, among other things, a legally advertised or posted written notice to all potential bidders describing in detail what is being sold, a deadline after which no further bids will be accepted, to whom the bids should be mailed or delivered, how they are to be labeled to avoid accidental opening and the date, time and place that the bids will be opened in public (General Municipal Law §103 and Open Meetings Law).
Best and final offer is a nebulous concept frequently used in the real estate business when dealing with non-governmental agencies to encourage potential buyers to make larger offers. In reality as long as a property remains listed for sale, a higher offer can still be accepted by the seller.
Regarding the 14 acre former ball field, it has never been publicly listed or offered for sale by the school district. There has been no mention of it in any real estate listings. On the contrary, when Tusten’s Supervisor Wingert inquired, via a letter dated January 23, 2013, about the Town purchasing the property, Hackett responded with a letter dated February 13, 2013 stating “We appreciate your interest in this property but at this time the land is not for sale. If in the future the Sullivan West Board of Education decides to put this property on the real estate market, we will have our real estate agent reach out to all interested parties.” A copy of Hackett’s response was made available by the Tusten supervisor since the school district failed to produce the letter as part of a FOIL request.