April 18, 2005

Golf course bidding questions; child endangerment

Reverberations from the golf course auction continue in today's Ithaca Journal, with an article on who knew what and when about the price the town was going to bid. Course owner George Szlasa seems to have stepped back a little from his earlier position that his attorney, Town Attorney Mahlon Perkins, told him exactly what the town's bidding price would be, but otherwise the facts of the story still line up with earlier reports.

There's one paragraph jump in the story that I worry creates a misleading impression:

Szlasa said Perkins was authorized to share this bid with interested buyers, which included the town and a potential buyer from Las Vegas. The number was "public knowledge" according to Perkins. "Anyone who asked knew the price. It was based on the public record," he said.

"What struck me was that information he said was public I never saw in The Ithaca Journal or the Dryden Courier," said Simon St. Laurent, a regular town board meeting attendee and chair of the Dryden Democrats. "The reason given for going into executive session was so that it wouldn't affect the price of real estate but it was shared with a key participant in the auction."

The two paragraphs both talk about 'public' information, but in the first paragraph, the information is about the bid Szlasa made, which was based on the published court award. In the second paragraph, where I'm quoted, the information is about the amount the town was going to bid, which was not public knowledge.

I think Town Supervisor Steve Trumbull gets the last word on the process, taking a position I can agree with:

"I divulged what I was authorized to bid. I'm still learning that part of things," he said. "This is something that people have talked about for years. If things get out, seems to depend on who's in executive session and who they talk to later. I don't think it's supposed to be talked about."

And Joe Osmeloski, who's been volunteering to keep the course going, closes the article with bad news for golfers:

as the course goes unmowed it is dying a slow death.

"The greens are in very, very bad condition. Right now they're unplayable. It's definitely not open for golf," he said.

The other major news story about Dryden is pretty dark, as New York State Police arrested "a Staten Island man who allegedly planned to engage in sexual intercourse with a 12-year-old girl after meeting her on the Internet." The girl disappeared from Dryden Middle School Friday, and troopers found her with the man, Gary Reid, who has been charged "with fourth-degree conspiracy, a class E felony; second-degree unlawful imprisonment, a class A misdemeanor; and endangering the welfare of a child, a class A misdemeanor."

The Journal's editorial today isn't specific to Dryden, but the call it makes is very similar to my motivations for running this site:

Learn. Talk. Use public forums - including this opinion page - to share ideas and solutions. Demand more from the corporations and governments that serve you.

Or risk being the people our grandchildren will imagine they could never have been.

Posted by simon at April 18, 2005 8:12 AM in , , ,
Note on photos