Town of Lancaster did not act responsibly on police building project say residents; Part II: David vs. Goliath
By Lee Chowaniec
Jul 20, 2011, 09:24
Stepping into the arena to do battle with the Lancaster Town Board, feisty, senior citizen Henry Gull addressed the board on Councilman Mark Aquino’s Bee letter where he stated that the town acted responsibly in their managing the eight year old police building project.
“Good evening. My name is Hank Gull from Pavement Road Lancaster. We the people of Lancaster continue to be assaulted by the very people who are elected to see that we are protected from any unfair schemes. When they are in fact creating this egregious insanity brought on by the Supervisor with the assent of this Town Board in the questionable purchase of the Colecraft building which has resulted in the loss of millions of dollars of taxpayer money and the needless delay of construction of a police and court building.”
“The latest insult to the people of Lancaster was perpetrated by the newest member of this board, namely Mark Aquino, who was compelled to write a letter to the editor of the Bee in which he concocted an endless stream of lies. This litany of lies has not one shred of truth throughout.”
“The story begins on April 7, 2003 when the Supervisor announced that he had purchased the Colecraft warehouse. At that meeting I stood and asked if he had employed engineers to inspect the building prior to purchase. He answered that he and the Chief of Police had decided that it was a good fit. I then asked if I and some trusted citizens could inspect the interior of the building, he agreed and we along with thirty others visited the building on April 11, 2011. This is in conflict with a statement made by Mr. Giza where he claims that he conducted this tour prior to the purchase.”
“I hasten to point out, there were thirty plus witnesses. I had investigated the history of the Colecraft business, and came armed with a number of important facts. When I asked the supervisor if he had ever heard of a Robert Benzel, he responded that Benzel was a truck driver for Colecraft.”
Supervisor Robert Giza interjected that he had never made such statement. “I never said that, that’s a total lie.”
“His answer stunned me,” continued Gull. “Remember the thirty witnesses.”
“I don’t care who you had there, I never said that,” declared Giza.
“Other people heard that conversation,” countered Gull “My information revealed that Robert Benzel was a Vice President of Colecraft, in addition to also serving as President of the Lancaster Industrial Development Agency (LIDA) sitting at the next desk to the Chairman, who happened to be Robert Giza.”
“I am the Chairman of the LIDA, ” interjected Giza.
“That’s what I just said, sir,” countered Gull.
“There is no president,” said Giza. “I am the Chairman, there is no president. You are misleading the public.”
“Mr. Giza was quoted in the May 26th edition of the Bee where he said “We can’t buy anything unless we get it appraised,” Gull continued. On May 26th, I filed a freedom of information law request. I asked for any and all documents generated by the appraiser in reference to the purchase of Colecraft. Ms. Coleman consulted with Mr. Giza, who told her that what he was referring to was the feasibility study. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the feasibility study was completed in July, over three months after the purchase. I then filed an appeal with the town attorney, who told me that an appraisal to this day does not exist. I rest my case.”
“I can answer that,” interjected Councilman Mark Aquino. “The appraisal took place before the closing took place Mr. Gull. I know the facts. I’ll stand by every word I wrote in my article. “You want to talk about lies, read that article and I will meet you later.”
Gull responded that he would read the article again…
“We will see who’s telling the truth Mr. Gull,” Aquino declared. “I’ll gladly debate you outside. One line in that article is not correct according to you…
“Every line, sir,” responded Gull.
“That’s a nice generalization,” Aquino shot back. “I’ll skip an afternoon and go over that with you. You don’t accuse of me of making lies without backing them up.”
After meeting Gull comments
After the meeting Gull related that he was perplexed by Aquino’s charges he was the one guilty of not telling the truth. “The town Clerk and Town Attorney tell me in writing that there is no documented proof of an appraisal taking place before Colecraft Building purchase – before purchase is the key, not before closing.”
“It is sad that I did not reference Judge Burn’s statements when he dismissed the lawsuit against the Town Board when he declared: “There is no criminal intent here, just bad governance. You can seek relief at the ballot box.”
“At the ballot box, hmmm,” uttered Gull. “I shall seriously consider that advice this year and encourage others to do so as well.”
NEXT: Part III: Three down, two to go.
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