Town appears to have sold land for major discount; leaders blame faulty appraisal

Posted at: 05/08/2014 5:53 PM
Updated at: 05/08/2014 6:06 PM
By: Mark Mulholland

HALFMOON - There were seven parcels of land in all.

All of them owned by the Town and all of them used at one time for the municipal water supply.

According to a report in the Times Union, the combined appraised value of the seven parcels was more than a quarter-million dollars. But they sold for a combined $22,500.

The sale process began in 2011 and was completed in the middle of 2013, before Kevin Tollisen replaced indicted Supervisor Mindy Wormuth.

"This is now my responsibility to deal with it and that's what we're doing is we're working on it," said Tollisen.

He and others don't believe there was intentional wrongdoing. But all concede that it looks bad.

Councilwoman Daphne Jordan, who was not on the board at the time of the land sales, said, "We have to look at how this happened and we have to ensure something like this doesn't happen again," after announcing her campaign Thursday.

According to town officials, the problem stems from a faulty appraisal. It didn't take into account the high costs of demolishing buildings, decommissioning wells and removing tanks.

Current county clerk and then-town councilman, Craig Hayner, says an assistant town attorney and the town water superintendent recommended the board approve the sale.

"As a councilman, you rely on the information you were given. And I had no reason not to believe that that was true," said Hayner. "I hadn't gotten bad counsel before so I certainly didn't believe that that was the case."

The assistant town attorney who oversaw the land sale, resigned this week.