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Judge dismisses Article 78 filed over Cairo HUD funds

Nov 30, 2022 12:45 am

Andrea Macko is reporting for Porcupine Soup the Article 78 proceeding that alleged the Cairo Town Board wrongly awarded federal grant money to the Cairo Development Foundation has been dismissed. On November 28, Acting State Supreme Court Justice Adam Silverman ruled the lawsuit initiated by Mountain View Enterprises and Cairo resident Emmy Cross was filed 11 days past the state’s four-month statute of limitations. “The alleged facts of this case are unusual and concerning,” Silverman wrote to begin his eight-page decision. “The petition is dismissed because the resolution being challenged became final and binding more than four months prior to the commencement of this special proceeding,” he ruled. The case stems from the town board’s March 7 vote to release U.S. Housing and Urban Development Residential Rehabilitation Grant funds that sat idle in the town coffers for decades. Three applicants ― Cross, Mountainview Enterprises and the Cairo Development Foundation ― were awarded funds, but not in the amounts approved by Delaware Engineering. Catskill attorney Monica Kenny-Keff initiated the proceedings in State Supreme Court arguing the board’s resolution was “unlawful, arbitrary and capricious… and as a result of their personal conflicts of interest, and personal and political interests with respect to [the] CDF.” The complainants asked the court to issue a preliminary injunction against the defendants to stop disbursement of the grant funds and order the money be distributed as originally recommended by Delaware Engineering. The original HUD grant was in the amount of $400,000, and awarded to the town in 1998, for distribution to low-income residents of Cairo. In 2015, then-Supervisor Ted Banta found there was still approximately $60,000 left in the pot. According to August 3, 2015 town board meeting minutes, those funds were to be distributed to more than 20 candidates who applied for the funding, but that never happened. Silverman wrote in his decision. “...Nearly a quarter century after the funds were first obtained and seven years after they were mysteriously ‘discovered,’ the parties agree that these funds have yet to be disbursed for their intended purpose. Regardless of the outcome of this case, it remains clear that the low to moderate income residents who were intended to benefit from these funds have suffered an unexplained and seemingly unreasonable delay,” Silverman added. Read more at porcupine soup [dot] com.

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