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Judge: COR can continue Inner Harbor work, City of Syracuse fraud allegations can move forward

By Eric Reinhardt


SYRACUSE, N.Y. — After his review, New York State Supreme Court Justice James Murphy says COR Development Company, LLC can move forward with its development project at Syracuse’s Inner Harbor.


At the same time, Murphy also said the City of Syracuse’s allegations of fraud against the Fayetteville–based developer could proceed.


That’s according to separate statements that COR Development and the office of Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner released Wednesday afternoon.


In the COR statement, Steve Aiello, president of COR Development, reacted to the judge’s decision.


“We’re pleased the courts today dismissed the city’s claim to take back the Inner Harbor property and lifted the notice of pendency, which provides the opportunity for funding to continue and the project to move forward,” Aiello said.


Robert Stamey, Corporation Counsel for the City of Syracuse, also discussed the judge’s decision with reporters on Wednesday afternoon at Syracuse City Hall.


“Judge Murphy’s decision to dismiss our rescission claim … was based largely on the practicalities of putting everybody back to the status quo,” said Stamey.


Murphy had asked what would the city do with a hotel project that is three-quarters built, Stamey noted in recalling the court proceeding.


The city will consider an appeal of that part of the judge’s decision, he added.


The attorneys for both sides will meet with the judge on Monday at 2 p.m. to discuss “a host of issues,” according to Stamey.


Miner reaction

In the city’s statement, Miner also reacted to the judge’s decision.


“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,” Miner said.


The Syracuse mayor on Dec. 15 had filed the lawsuit after COR had secured a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes deal with the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency (OCIDA).


COR had sought the tax deal for its ongoing Inner Harbor development project.


The city contends COR “deliberately” sought a tax-relief deal from OCIDA to allow the company to avoid a community-benefits agreement with the city that would have required COR to provide project-related jobs to Syracuse residents.


Miner in the lawsuit also asked the court to “rescind the contract” between the City of Syracuse and COR Development “in regard to the properties of the Inner Harbor,” she said, but the judge denied that request.


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