Brookstone Homes agreement amended
On Monday night, the Finance Committee and the City Council approved an amended agreement between the city of Kenosha and Brookstone Homes, Inc. The Finance Committee’s vote was unanimous (5 to 0), and the City Council’s vote was approved by a vote of 13 to 2 (Alderpersons Patrick Juliana and Anthony Kennedy were the only dissenting voters).
Alderperson Anthony Nudo called for the amendment at the committee level to amend the agreement from the city paying $56,000 to Brookstone for them to walk away from the development, to the city paying only $1. The reason, he stated, was “that the city has invested a huge sum, over $1 million. Brookstone originally paid $81,000 for the properties.”
A motion was made to defer the vote for two weeks to allow the city and Brookstone to discuss the agreement and avoid potential legal problems, but the vote on the deferral failed (5 to 10). Alderperson David Bogdala said that he wouldn’t support the deferral because this discussion happened a year ago, and several “red flags” were raised at that time. “The $56,000, plus assessments, is money that the citizens of Kenosha shouldn’t have to pay,” Bogdala stated.
Alderperson Steve Bostrom also was not in favor of the deferral. “It’s kind of a joke that we’re at this stage,” Bostrom said. “The developer said that he couldn’t do it a year ago. Yet, we let him go. They’ve got stones to come back and ask for money. The $56,000 is a last straw. They’re not entitled to anything, are they?”
Alderperson Anthony Kennedy felt that “we were dumb to give them an extension.” Kennedy wanted to know how many lots were being sold for $1. ”The original agreement called for $54,926 to be paid to Brookstone, plus the $1 million we’ve already invested. And, you’re calling this a ‘land grab?’”
Alderperson Patrick Juliana wanted to know if Brookstone had been notified of the original agreement. They had. They chose not to show up at tonight’s meeting. They were made aware of Nudo’s amendment today. “Do we face litigation?” Juliana wanted to know. “Yes, that’s the next step from here,” replied city attorney Ed Antaramian.
Alderperson Michael Orth stated, “This is all a loss of possible logic, twisted logic. We will be the ones suing. They’re cheating the tax payer! There were 100 lots for $80,000, we improved them, now we’re talking about giving them $56,000 to walk away. This is ridiculous!”
The extension was for a year after December 15. Bostrom stated that Brookstone would be in breach of their contract if they are not able to fulfill. Antaramian stated that they are in breach of their contract now. “They want to reclaim the parcels,” Antaramian said. ”The contract called for repurchase of the undeveloped parcels. They encumbered (mortgaged) all of them. The negotiation called for Brookstone to keep three lots; we would take all the rest back.”
Nudo stated that the contract was sent to Brookstone Homes’ attorneys weeks ago. It was negotiated jointly. “Regarding the amendment, we did them a courtesy. We called them; we let them review it. They knew that we were going to discuss this issue tonight. They decided not to come.”