The Fulmont College Association on Wednesday withdrew its petition to Fulton County Supreme Court for permission to sell its three FMCC dormitory halls for less than their appraised value to Amsterdam-based Dan Vann Properties LLC for $1.1 million.
The FCA’s attorney Robert Schofield, of the Albany-based law firm Whiteman Osterman & Hanna, notified the many parties involved in the proposed seven-figure dorm hall sale in an email at 6:12 p.m. Wednesday.
“A few moments ago, I filed the attached Notice of Discontinuance, discontinuing and withdrawing my client’s Petition for Approval of the Sale of Real Property,” reads the email from Schofield. “We will likely refile the proceeding in the near future.”
The withdrawal comes on the heels of a court challenge late last week to the proposed sale by attorney Teresa Monroe, of the Monroe Law firm in Albany, on behalf of her clients Bianca Alicea of Amsterdam, a nursing student at Fulton-Montgomery Community College and William Petrosino of Amsterdam, a long-time Amsterdam-area landlord.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York on Monday also filed a notice with Fulton County Supreme Court indicating it would be sending Assistant U.S. Attorney John D. Hoggan Jr. to a court conference on the matter that had been scheduled for Friday at 1 p.m, but is now canceled due to the FCA withdrawing its petition.
Hoggan would have been appearing on behalf of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, which in 2010 loaned the FCA $11.3 million for the purpose of purchasing and renovating the 1980s-vintage Fulton Hall and Montgomery Hall dorm buildings for $4 million and then building in 2012 the 144-bed, co-ed Raider Hall dorm for $7.1 million.
New York state nonprofit corporation law requires the FCA to get court approval before selling the dorm buildings, which effectively account for nearly all of the corporation’s assets.
The FCA filed its original petition for permission to sell the buildings April 16 arguing that operating dorm buildings has been a bad business since the coronavirus pandemic eliminated all of the occupancy for the three-dorm, 288-bed facility, located on two acres at 588 County Highway 142 in Johnstown.
College President Greg Truckenmiller has said the Fulmont College Association needs to sell the dorm buildings because it is default for about $10 million it still owes the USDA. He said the FCA owes about $800,000 in debt service payments to the USDA and has less than $100,000 in cash currently.
The FCA’s court petition included emails from USDA officials indicating the federal agency was willing to forgive the outstanding debt in exchange for the $1.1 million sale price, minus the 7% real estate broker commission paid to former FMCC Board Chairman and Foundation of FMCC board member Michael Sampone.
Sampone and the Pyramid Brokerage Company of Albany.
Truckenmiller on Monday said the number of board directors needed to approve the sale of the properties is in dispute. He also said if the court does not ultimately approve the sale of the buildings the FCA will likely be forced to declare bankruptcy.
Among the recipients of Schofield’s email regarding the FCA’s withdrawal of its petition Wednesday were Fulton-Montgomery Community College Vice President of Administration and Finance Gregg Wilbur, assistant New York state Attorney General Nathan Courtney, Montgomery County Attorney Meghan Manion, Fulton County Attorney Jason Brott, officials representing the USDA, the State University of New York, the New York State Dept. of Education and Monroe.
The motion to discontinue the petition was filed with the judge assigned to the case, 4th Judicial District Supreme Court Judge Rebecca Slezak.