The lead developer of the Adirondack Club and Resort has confirmed in an interview with NCPR that his investment team has fallen behind on its property taxes, owed to local governments, by tens of thousands of dollars.
Michael Foxman and his team were placed on an installment payment plan by local officials because of unpaid taxes dating back as far as 2007.
But the firm has since fallen behind on those scheduled payments.
According to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, the Big Tupper resort’s backers currently owe Franklin County as well as the town of Tupper Lake just under $100,000.
“We are being forced to spend an absolute fortune going through the hearing responding to the actions and lobbying of the preservation groups,” Foxman argued. “We obviously will pay our taxes and interest with any penalties.”
The Pennsylvania attorney, who has been advocating for the project since 2004, argued that the current round of hearings would cost his investors between $350,000 and $500,000.
He acknowledged that that was a drain on his resources.
Asked if his organization had the resources to develop the large-scale resort — which includes more than seven hundred mansions and condos, as well as a marina and a ski area — Foxman said he remains confident.
“Between debt and equity and sales, we expect to have the financing available. If we didn’t, why would we be spending this money getting a permit?”
Foxman and his supporters have blamed the environmental community for delaying and extending the state’s review of the resort, which began in 2004.
But a review of the chronology of the regulatory process suggests that many of the delays were caused by Foxman’s group, which often waited months before responding to requests for additional information from the Adirondack Park Agency.
Foxman himself requested that the project go to formal mediation in October of 2007, a voluntary process which continued through June of 2009.
A year then passed after the end of mediation before his group submitted an updated development plan in June 2010.
“There were times when we didn’t care about delay,” Foxman conceded, “because we could see where the economy was. On the other hand…we always wanted the permit as quickly as possible.”
Asked whether the project had been delayed because of a lack of funds needed to pay for site plans and other needed materials, Foxman acknowledged that “we have been [financially] uncomfortable from time to time.”
“We’ve spent something on the order of $8 million [during the APA review process] and we expected to spend $2 to 3 million,” he said.
A vote on the project by the APA comission is expected some time this fall. Foxman’s team still has to secure permits from the Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Conservation.
Foxman said his investors have the financial backing to remain afloat through that process, and through any legal challenges that might follow the issuance of permits.
During hearings this week, one critic of the project, Tupper Lake resident Jack Delahanty demanded that Foxman’s group “be required to post performance bonds to assure fiscal responsibility in light of their repeated nonpayment on property taxes,” according to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.
This news comes at a time when the Big Tupper resort appears to have strong momentum.
There was a huge outpouring of support at a hearing last week in Tupper Lake, and the Adirondack Park Agency staff issuing a draft report of potential permit conditions that appeared to lean toward approving the project.
Extended audio of NCPR’s conversation with Michael Foxman will be available tomorrow morning.