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Medley Booted From Empire Zone

State finds mall has not created enough jobs to keep tax credits.
The state has booted Medley Centre from its Empire Zone program for not creating enough jobs.

"Our review revealed that Bersin made material representations of fact in their annual business report," an Empire State Development official wrote to Scott Congel, owner of the mall.

Congel's company, Bersin Properties, has collected nearly $4 million in property tax credits from the state through the program since 2004. Developer Scott Congel took over Bersin when he bought the mall in 2008. Congel only had to create two full-time jobs in Monroe County to keep his benefits.

Bersin has 30 days to appeal and in a statement, indicated that the company will appeal. Congel points out since he took the mall over, he's gotten $1.5 million of the tax credits.

The Empire Zone program ended in 2010, after criticism businesses did not follow through on investment and job creation promises. Businesses already in Empire Zones got to keep their benefits.

Assemblyman Joe Morelle asked for the review of Medley's eligibility to remain in the program. 

“Local, county and state taxpayers have placed their trust in Bersin Properities by investing a great deal in the redevelopment of the Medley Centre site. Unfortunately, Bersin Properties has betrayed the community’s trust at every turn by failing to follow through on numerous promises," Morelle said in a statement. “Now is the time to do what is right and protect the public’s interests. That is my focus, and that is why I consider ESD’s findings a significant victory for taxpayers.” 

"We believe it would be more beneficial for Assemblyman Morelle to work with us to find a resolution in order to move the project forward. We cannot help but wonder if the Assemblyman has a different agenda by mentioning another developer to replace us," said Bersin Properties in a statement.

Congel is suing Monroe County, the Town of Irondequoit and East Irondequoit School District for revoking his payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement. The taxing jurisdictions claim he owes nearly $4 million in penalties for not developing the property. Congel claims his lender pulled funding. He is also suing the lender.
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