Normanside vote not unanimous

Bethlehem Councilman Mark Jordan was the sole member of the Town Board to vote against placing a bid to the Bank of America on the Normanside Country Club, according to documents obtained by The Spotlight.

Jordan, when reached this afternoon, said his vote was not necessarily in opposition to the idea of Bethlehem obtaining the Normanside property, but was rather due to the details of the arrangement.

Under the bidding process, the winner will acquire the debt Normanside has with the Bank of America, which will afford the ability to foreclose on the club. Normanside would assumedly hand over the deed to the property in lieu of payment of its $4 million debt.

But in lieu of a contract stating that arrangement, Jordan said he was wary of the terms, which he characterized as putting the town in the role of a bank.

My thought was that it was a wiser decision to wait and see what would happen with the bid process, Jordan said. "The only way it would work for me is if we were to have a whole slew of contingencies."

Under the terms of the bidding process, the town would also have to put up 10 percent of the purchase price within 24 hours of its acceptance.

Dan Byrnes, the president of Normanside Country Club, has publicly said the club would hand over the deed should it be foreclosed on. The club has been seeking a buyer that would be willing to continue operating it as a golf course.

Supervisor Sam Messina said after an extensive review of the issue, he and three other board members felt confident Normanside would be a financially viable town asset and an acquisition of the club's indebtedness would not put the town in a difficult position.

"I do not have concerns about the details of the instrument, because I think we've done good work and due diligence," he said. "I would not have supported this if I felt in any way this would be a drain on taxpayer dollars."

The amount of the town's bid remains unknown. A Freedom of Information Law request by The Spotlight for the information was denied, as was an initial request for minutes of the meeting in which it was made.

The minutes and roll call of the vote were released after an appeal.""

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