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Prism pays approximately $300,000 to cure two notices of default on downtown redevelopment

Prism paid delinquent property taxes and redevelopment escrow account today, Friday, Dec. 7, appearing to cure two defaults that threatened its project in the downtown redevelopment area.

Prism Capital Partners paid its delinquent property taxes and redevelopment escrow account today, Friday, Dec. 7, according to an e-mail from Mayor Robert Parisi to the town council.

These payments, which were previously identified as amounting to more than $300,000, appear to cure two notices of default of the 2006 Redevelopment Agreement between Prism and the township. The agreement specifies Prism’s exclusive right to development in the downtown redevelopment area, including the Edison Battery Factory. Failure to cure the defaults would have allowed the township to end the agreement and Prism’s designation as the redeveloper.

On Nov. 14, the township sent Prism a notice of default for failure to pay $173,246 to an escrow account to cover town redevelopment expenses for the period ending July 1. Prism had until Dec. 11 to cure this default.

On Nov. 20, the township sent Prism a notice of default for failure to pay Nov. 1 quarterly property taxes of $123,944. With penalty interest, that amount was more than $135,000. Prism had until Dec. 26 to cure this default.

On October 26, the township sent Prism a letter demanding information on its obligation to notify the township of a material adverse change to its financial condition relating to the foreclosure proceeding on Prism’s Barton Press property in the redevelopment area. The action commenced in December 2012, but was not disclosed to the township. The letter also asked about any other legal actions and requested financial information. Prism had 10 business days to comply, but had not provided information as of the Dec. 4 council meeting. The mayor’s brief e-mail did not address this issue.

Joe Krakoviak is a West Orange Township Councilman, since 2010. He can be reached at jkrakoviak@westorange.org. A former financial journalist, in his spare time he’s a business communications consultant.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Gary Englert December 11, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Tom: I'm sorry; given as little as you've demonstrated you know about constitutional law, I had no reason to believe you knowledge base about much of anything else was significant. That said, excuse by skepticism that you might but, if you had the resources and expertise to prosecute a project of the scope of downtown redevelopment, why didn't you submit a proposal? If "the deal (crafted) made sense" to you, perhaps you would havelead us all to the Promised Land by now.
john anthony prignano December 11, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Paul P Great comments. Richard Trenk is conspicuous by his absence.
Gary Englert December 11, 2012 at 05:17 PM
john anthony prignano: "Great comments?" Hardly. Ill-informed, libelous innuendo? Definitely! An you still haven't provided us a link to anything substantiating your own specious allegations concerning Governor Codey. Care to share them with the group?
john anthony prignano December 11, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Paul P The Concerned Citizens went after Sam Spina with relentless ferocity . But they never in any way, shape or form mentioned the fact that Sam Spina bought and sold real estate in West Orange. Personally, I consider that a clear conflict of interests. It's painfully obvious why they didn't say anything about Spina's real estate business. Englert denies ever calling my house - "I answered the phone when Gary Englert called our house and asked to speak to my husband " signed, Jeanne Prignano
Gary Englert December 11, 2012 at 09:54 PM
john ranthony prignano: Your posts remain far afield from the subject at hand and you insist on taking us down these incessant trips down selective Memory Lane, peppered with various nonsensical gems wafting through the windmills of your mind. I recal having precisely one direct conversation with you; the evening of the 1994 municipal election when we both found ourselves at the Renna House as the polls were closing. My recollection is that (as ill-conceived and lackluster as the effort was)I commended you for involving yourself in the process. I recall you were weraing a grey suit. Having long since determined (witness the exchanges here) that any conversation with you is an exercise in futility, I can't imagine why I would ever subjected myself to trying to have a phone conversation with you but, labor under the delsuion I called you if it makes you happy. That said, the ad hoc orgnization that became known as The Concerned Citizens of West Orange took what action it could given the actionable evidence and proofs of malfeasance, misfeasance and criminality that it discovered and verified. That action did not include any concerning the Spina family's real estate holdings, as your thinking property ownership is somehow a "conflict of interest" does not make it so. A local elected official is not precluded from owning real estate, whether it be his/her personal residence, a business or for investment purposes and there was no illegality to be found.
Tom December 12, 2012 at 03:43 AM
"If they build it they will come" is an idiotic attitude. Gary the "promised Land"...We were promised one thing and now we are getting something else shoved down our throats. And now we have to listen to the cheerleaders?
Gary Englert December 12, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Tom: Building nothing and have no viable alternative is what I'd define as an idiotic attitude. It may have escaped your notice but, absolutely nothing is being "shoved down our throats." The simple fact remains that economic conditions that were beyond anyone's control changed dramatically since this project was first conceived and then approved in 2006; perhaps you've been living under a rock and haven't noticed. What has happened since are relatively minor changes that were vetted and approved in open public forums comprised of both elected officials and an appointed board comprised of citizens with wholly relevant professional expertise. The aesthetic vision of Edison Lofts has not changed significantly, with the only significant difference being that its future residents will be paying rent and not a mortgage. Listen to whomever and whatever you want but, your posts haven't articulated a cogent reason to oppose the current plan let alone another course of action.
john anthony prignano December 12, 2012 at 05:07 PM
It is painfully obvious why The Concerned Citizens never in any way, shape, or form mentioned the buying and selling of West Orange real estate by a Mayor operating under the Mayor - Council { "Strong Mayor" } form of government. What's Richard Trenk doing these days?
john anthony prignano December 12, 2012 at 05:22 PM
I don't understand why the Township had to hire an outside attorney to help the Town Clerk with the petition review process. We have a Town Attorney{s}. If the Clerk did require legal counsel, why couldn't Richard Trenk or Ken Kayser have provided it?
Gary Englert December 12, 2012 at 05:29 PM
john ranthony prignano: And your point...which remains totally off topic...would be what? One is always best served by picking their battles and fighting only those they can win, which is precisely what The Concerned Citizens of West Orange did. Care to share any civic successes of your own that even come close to what that group accomplished? No? I didn't think so. What you've also yet to do is provide any proof to support your very specious allegations (made above) about Governor Codey...so I'll repeat the unanswered challenge: kindly provide a link to whatever such information can be found on-line. As to Mr. Trenk, he is alive and well practicing law, advising the Township as its Municipal Attorney and engaging in the various charitable works that he is known for.
Gary Englert December 12, 2012 at 05:38 PM
john ranthony prignano: There an old legal adage that says "If there's the appearance of a conflict, then a conflict exists." The Township Attorney's (jointly and severally) were providing guidance and advice to the Administration and Council, whose interests in the matter may well have conflicted with those of the Township Clerk. Of consequence, she was provided with independent counsel.
john anthony prignano December 12, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Newark Star Ledger - Township Attorney Richard Trenk was the subject of an investigation when it was discovered he was one of a group of investors who had entered into an agreement to purchase an office building owned by Organon and adjacent to it's main site.Organon had been part of the Redevelopment Zone. Retired Justice Gary Stein, in a 53 page report released on January 30, { 2008} found that Trenk's interest violated " prudence, caution and good judgement ." What's Trenk up to these days?.... It is PAINFULLY obvious......
Tom December 12, 2012 at 08:05 PM
Home ownership to Rentals? A minor change?? How dumb do you think people are? Please spare us the excuses...
john anthony prignano December 12, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Sometimes, family members { like first cousins for example } leave something to be desired. Namely, new first cousins . Wow.
Gary Englert December 12, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Tom: Housing is housing and paying for it is paying for it...whether it be making amortgage payyment or writing a rent check. The economic world has changed since 2008; there's a 97% occupancy rate of residential rental properties in NYC metro area and construction financing for them is available. Condos? No so much. That's no excuse, it's a reality that our town fathers have accepted as wishful thinking isn't likely to get you anywhere.
Gary Englert December 12, 2012 at 10:49 PM
john ranthony prignano: Yada, yada, yada...let's continue to pillory Mr. Trenk for be part of a group who submitted the highest bid for a moribund property...and then rehabilitating and returning it to full taxpaying status before any other part of the Organon parcel. Judge Stein's report simply opined that Mr. Trenk should have known that there were people who wouldn't sophisticated enough to understand he did nothing wrong...as you've so aptly proven.
john anthony prignano December 12, 2012 at 11:26 PM
"The Town Attorneys { jointly and SEVERALLY } were providing guidance and advice to the Administration and Council, whose interests in the matter may well have conflicted with those of the Township Clerk ???? Of consequence, she was provided with independent counsel." I'm sure the Clerk is quite capable of determining if petitioners' signatures are valid or invalid. So what did the independent counsel do , defend her interests against those of the Administration and Council, who were represented by several attorneys ???...... NUTS!!
Gary Englert December 12, 2012 at 11:30 PM
john ranthony prignano: "Obsession is the single most wasteful human activity, because with an obsession you keep coming back and back and back to the same question and never get an answer." ~ Norman Mailer
john anthony prignano December 12, 2012 at 11:35 PM
What was the tab for that deal? I'm sure someone knows, maybe to the penny.
Gary Englert December 13, 2012 at 01:30 AM
john ranthony prignano: While I'm sure it can be identified and quantified, the cost of the Clerk's legal counsel was born by Prism Capital Partners LLC, as they are required to reimburse the Township for the full cost of any and all of its expenses concerning redevelopment...and the cost of defending this frivolous lawsuit would be one of them.
Gary Englert December 13, 2012 at 01:32 AM
john ranthony prignano declaring anyone or anything "NUTS?" An epic case of the pot calling the kettle black if there ever was one!
Tom December 13, 2012 at 02:04 AM
Gary I think the residents have spoken and they do not support a rental project. There are very few people I speak with that are happy with the direction west orange is going and most, if not all plan to leave west orange in the near future because of it. Please stop blaming 2008
john anthony prignano December 13, 2012 at 02:27 AM
Let us conclude with the words of someone I have often described as an excuse maker and defeatist ; "One is always best served by picking their battles and fighting only those they can win ".....WINNING !!
Gary Englert December 13, 2012 at 02:58 AM
Tom: I mosr definitely think the residents have spoken, as well, by consistently electing and re-electing a majority of our local officials who ARE committed to downtown redevelopment. Whatever your very subjective survey (and whether you actually spoke to real human beings or just the mouse in your pocket), it surely pales in comparison to the evidence garnered in an election. As to 2008, ignore cause and effect if you'd like but, the history is what it is and, YES, the economic meltdown stalled the project...period. Lastly, if you're going to continue to post, why not assess the landscape here and figure out how to get yours in the stream where they belong...rather than starting a new one each time you post. It isn't rocket science.
john anthony prignano December 13, 2012 at 04:59 AM
It's good to know that Prism is obligated to reimburse the Township for the full cost of any and all of its expenses concerning development. On the other hand, the Township is borrowing 6.3 million dollars in general OBLIGATION bonds for the development. So who's really obligated to pay for " the full cost of any and all expenses concerning development " ? Give your friends money !
Paul P December 14, 2012 at 03:22 PM
"Ill-informed, libelous innuendo? " http://www.njeminentdomain.com/WJW_ICLE_10-15-07_Eminent%20Domain%20Princeton_Ethics.pdf page 6
Gary Englert December 14, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Paul P: William J. Ward, Esq.'s self-promoting piece on ethics and redevelopment has absolutely no standing as a published, judicial opinion and is based on a number of fundamentally flawed premises, not the least of which is: "However, Trenk, as municipal attorney, was overseeing the town’s redevelopment plans..." That is now, and always has been, fundamentally incorrect as the Township has retained independent counsel (McManimon & Scotland, L.L.C.) since the onset of the intitiative. Accordingly, Mr. Trenk is not now, and never has been "overseeing the town’s redevelopment plans." The simple fact of the matter remains that an investment group (of which Mr. Trenk was a member) submitted the highest offer received, in sealed bid process open to the public, and purchased the subject property. Ergo, neither he, nor anyone else, received any special consideration as a result of his service as Municipal Attorney...and he should not be pilloried for making an investment in the community in which he liives and serves. That group then renovated/rehabilitated the empty building (347 Mt. Pleasant Avenue), occupied/leased it to capacity and returned it to full tapaying status before any other parcel on the former Organon site. If that was somehow bad for West Orange...or its taxpayers...I fail to see why or how.
john anthony prignano December 14, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Township Attorney Richard Trenk was the subject of an investigation when it was discovered he was one of a group of investors who had entered into an agreement to purchase an office building owned by Organon and adjacent to its main site. Organon has been part of the Redevelopment Zone.Retired Justice Gary Stein, in a 53 page report, released on January 30 {2008 } , found that Trenk's interest violated " prudence, caution, and good judgement . " Question; Why was the Organon site part of the Redevelopment Zone ? Isn't that called " spot zoning " ? Why wasn't the defunct Mount Fuji restaurant and other failed or stressed businesses in the immediate area included ? Also, let's accept the fact that the Township has retained independent counsel. WHY isn't Trenk,or Ken Kayser, for that matter, completely uninvolved in the redevelopment process? Richard Trenk is extremely knowledgeable on real estate issues. Would his involvement be a conflict of interests, or perhaps give the appearance of one? And regarding Kayser? Same situation? West Orange pays a FULL- TIME Municipal Attorney, and a Deputy Municipal Attorney... for what? There are SEVERAL attorneys advising the Mayor and Council on the petition drive.They are not to be confused with the Clerk's attorney { possible conflict of interest between the Mayor , Council and Clerk??? } $100,000 was spent on the Sayers - Abbott defense team. There's MacManimon and Scotland LLC........Give your friends MONEY !
john anthony prignano December 14, 2012 at 09:08 PM
P.S. Richard Trenk was VERY involved in the ATTEMPTED redevelopment of the former Gate House property. { Why wasn't that property included in the Redevelopment Zone? } Again, why isn't he at least somewhat involved in the Prism development? He was initially - Mckeon and Trenk went around the neighborhood talking to residents about the redevelopment process. Who was the attorney {s} who got rid of the of the rent - paying commercial tenants in the Battery Building?
john anthony prignano December 14, 2012 at 09:51 PM
West Orange { Township } paid Justice Stein $50,000 to render an opinion on the Township Attorney ?? There's that cliche about arbitrators and consultants and fact finders ad infinitum .... "If you want more work, don't bite the hand that feeds you" .The question is " What faith can the public have in the process?" Answer; " None "

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