CH-UH Board of Education response to Mosdos letter
This is a statement from CH-UH Board President Ron Register, responding to an open letter from Alan Rapoport, attorney for Mosdos Ohr Hatorah, regarding negotiations for the Millikin School property:
We are mystified by this letter. We’ve worked very hard for several years to reach an agreement with Mosdos that protects our community’s interests. We have been flexible, creative, compromising and patient, but in every instance we have eventually been rebuffed.
The proposal that the Board most recently received from Mr. Rapoport, on behalf of Mosdos, was to purchase both parcels of the Millikin property through an installment sale arrangement under which Mosdos would pay the Board $150,000 up front and $150,000 annual installments over the following three years. The Board has been advised by its counsel that it lacks the legal authority to sell its property through an installment sale arrangement, and, as a matter of policy, the Board does not want to be in the position of lending money to a private entity. Furthermore, the Board does not intend to negotiate a sale of its property to a private entity for less than market value. This was explained to Mr. Rapoport by the Board’s counsel on October 16, 2013. In establishing market value for the Millikin property, the Board has and will continue to rely on the report of its appraiser, Charles M. Ritley Associates, which assigned a value of $770,000 to the two parcels together and $740,000 for the 8+ acre parcel alone. On October 21, 2013, the Board’s counsel communicated to Mr. Rapoport that the Board would entertain a $650,000 cash offer for the 8+ parcel only. That represents a 12 percent discount from market value and is well below the midpoint between the Ritley appraisal and the one obtained by Mosdos.
It should be noted that the Board’s legal authority to negotiate the sale of the Millikin property to Mosdos is premised on the use of the property as a chartered nonpublic school. The 8+ acre parcel includes all of the property that was developed for public school use and should be sufficient for nonpublic school use as well. The remaining property, except for the stables, is largely undeveloped woodland and wetland, which has served as a buffer between the residential neighborhood and the Severance shopping center. Any land use plan that involves further development of that property by either the Board or a subsequent owner should be the topic of a broader community conversation. In any event, the District is using the stables for storage and plans to continue to do so at least during the design and construction phase of its master facilities plan.
Ron Register is president of the CH-UH Board of Education.