State Supreme Court Judge James Murphy dismissed a city lien against land the city sold to COR Development Co., as part of the city’s attempt to stop the developer from proceeding with the Syracuse Inner Harbor Project.
Murphy also denied the city’s request for COR to return the land to the city in the lawsuit; however, the judge has allowed the city to go forward with the rest of its litigation.
COR planned to develop the inner harbor into a hotel, with residential, retail and office space, until Mayor Stephanie Miner filed a lawsuit against the company Dec. 15, for seeking a tax deal with a county agency, after the company allegedly promised the city it would not seek the exemptions.
Miner said COR deliberately sought a tax relief deal, or “payment in lieu of taxes” (PILOT) deal, from Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency, in order to allow the company to avoid an agreement with the city, which would have bound the company to provide project-related jobs to city residents and minorities for the $324 million development project.
Murphy said the city may continue with the rest of its litigation, based on COR’s alleged fraud, due to its agreement with OCIDA, but he has also asked the city’s attorneys, and COR officials, to meet with him Jan. 4, in order to try to settle the dispute.
According to a statement from COR officials, the company is pleased the court has lifted the city’s lien on the property, so the project’s financing will continue to proceed.
Miner also said she was happy with the judge’s decision to allow the lawsuit to go forward, and has released the following statement, in part, regarding the matter:
“Today’s decision demonstrates there is a compelling case to be made that the community deserves benefits anytime rich support is given from a government agency to a private developer. Judge Murphy sustained our allegations of fraud against COR Development—which are the heart of our lawsuit—enabling the city to continue its litigation. This lawsuit is the right thing to do to ensure the residents of the 23rd poorest City in the United States are given the respect and community benefits they deserve.”
The Urban Jobs Task Force has also reportedly said it was pleased with the judge’s decision; the task force sent a letter to Judge Murphy Dec. 29, requesting the judge order both parties to settle the dispute out of court.