Mayor Dayton King said Monday a 2004 agreement purporting to commit the city to paying $400,000 for two lots adjacent to the Walmart Supercenter site is invalid because there is no record of the Common Council approving the deal.
King said the owners, members of the Curtin family, are better off because the lots will be worth more than $400,000 after Wal-Mart begins construction later this year.
The city agreed to buy the two lots in a side deal with the Curtin family because Wal-Mart’s offer for the main, 40-acre lot was less than the family desired, family spokesman Jim Curtin has said.
Then-Mayor Frank La Porta signed contracts with Curtin’s mother, Donna Curtin, and sister, Martha Curtin, in 2004 agreeing to buy their two lots.
Donna Curtin said last week she believes the family has a valid contract with the city, and she and her daughter are now conferring with their attorney, Thomas E. Sise of Amsterdam.
Sise said Monday he and his clients are discussing their options.
Jim Curtin has said the contracts must be valid because they were drawn up by former City Attorney Edward S. Lomanto, who said last year when the issue first arose that he believes the council did authorize the deal.
King said he and other city officials recently met with Curtin family members to convey the decision “we’re not legally obligated” to buy the property.
Jim Curtin said City Attorney Anthony Casale has formally notified the family by letter of the city’s decision and the reasons for it.
King said the two lots can now be consolidated by the family and sold for more money to a business interested in locating near the store.
City officials have also said the contract stipulated the city would buy the property if Wal-Mart required the lots for its drainage system. The final plans for the store do not utilize the two lots, King has said.
Casale could not be reached for comment.