Thursday, April 12, 2007


Regeneron is a biopharmaceutical company that develops drug candidates for the treatment of cancer, eye and other diseases. The company employs more than 450 people.
Today I spoke at a groundbreaking ceremony. BioMed Realty Trust and Regeneron will build a new 360,000 square foot, $145 million facility -- a world class lab and office complex that will be a new corporate headquarters and research development facility for Regeneron.
We worked very hard to discourage Regeneron from leaving Greenburgh & Westchester. Other states tried to persuade the company to relocate.


ethically challenged said...

Oh, and did I mention that a top executive from LCOR, the company that owns the property where the plant is being built, gave me a whopping $1,000 contribution back in March 2004 -- when LCOR's various applications before the town were pending.

Not only did I take the money, but when those pesky critics of mine said I was violating the ethics code, I wouldn't give back a dime, and I also made sure I never recused myself from any of the decisions I was called upon as town supervisor to make for LCOR.

And oh yes, I think LCOR got everything it asked for, and now that it's also developing the largest residential development in town history, I'm sure there's more to come!

Anonymous said...

Good work Paul. This is a credit to your administration, retaining a high quality firm.

Anonymous said...

OK Sheehan what do you have to say about this.

Anonymous said...

A Greenburgh curmudgeon named Samis
Objected to new ethics pajamas.
Still, everyone knows
Feiner's no clothes
Are his emperor's widely heard stammers.

ethically unchallenged said...

Oh, and did I mention that Feiner
does not use a town car even though he is entitled to one. that Feiner does not get reimbursed for gas mileage. that feiner gives back part of his salary when he doesn't meet goals (voluntarily). is that unethical action?

really ethically challenged said...

Feiner's public relations gimmickry with the car and the tiny end-of-year salary giveback are a convenient smokescreen that Feiner uses to disguise his real business, which is shaking down developers and anyone else with an active application before the town for a political contribution -- a practice which has thus far netted his campaign at least $138,000.

He's even raked in thousands of dollars over the years from the town's outside auditor.

Feiner is so ethically challenged that at the last town board meeting, he candidly admitted that when he took office as supervisor in 1991, he thought it was common practice to hit up anyone doing business with the town for money - which is exactly what he's been doing for the past sixteen years.

Anonymous said...

These anti Feiner comments are disgraceful. Why doesn't ethically challenged criticize Bass for taking a contribution from an applicant who wanted to rent space at town hall. Bass changed his mind, went from opposing the lease to voting for the lease. Why doesn't ethically challenged object to Sheehan receiving a contribution from the Democratic Party chair and then giving the chairlady's law firm a six figure contract. That is ethically wrong.

ethically challenged said...

Who are you kidding?

Bass's contribution was for $125 and he gave the money back.

Feiner meanwhile took tens of thousands of dollars from developers with applications to make tens of millions of dollars -- and wouldn't give a dime of it back.

Sheehan got $250 from Berger while he was a candidate -- nothing wrong with that -- and if Feiner thought there was anything wrong with hiring that law firm -- a firm unanimously recommended by the town attorny and planning staff -- he should have interviewed others. But he didn't bother.

Perhaps it should be pointed out that the law firm representing the developer against the town on that specific project is a law firm that has contributed thousands of dollars to Feiner himself.

hal samis said...

To limerick writer at 8:37 am
knowing nothing but promoting mayhem
maybe before you add more words
think before scattering your turds.

Samis has no qualms with strict ethics laws
Only with unworthy rhyming bores
Just ask Mike the new ethics chair
Whether I'm contributing my fair share.

Poems are writ by fools like thee
Who ignore both facts and history
You must be lame by putting in verse
What is in fact, just the converse.

Better you find a subject where you would write true
Lines with facts serving you
Clearly you need some help from Kaminer
When widowing the line ending with stammer.

Rose are red and violets are blue
A peurile April Fool's comment overdue
But all's fair here but tis a pity
Epithets born only by anonymity.

hal samis said...

We are proud to present a little musical entertainment disguised as a blog posting. Feel free to sing along where CHORUS is noted.

Original Book by Hal Samis
(Adapted from Greenburgh Town Board Meetings)

Since Feiner is most successful at attracting campaign money and since everyone already knows that by casting his one vote that all the bad things happen, then there is no reason to discuss him.
"He's just the devil in disguise..."
"I was a big man yesterday, but boy you ought to see me now".

So let me waste a few thousand instead on the Town Council members who act as though they never voted on the same side as Feiner, much less know him. This it is Feiner, alone, who is not only guilty but also responsible for everything -- be it the purchase of Taxter Ridge and who pays, be it the VSD mess, be it the composition and work habits of the previous Ethics Board or even the decision on how much insurance to carry or what brand of toilet paper to buy for the restrooms. And he gets away with it because the previous Ethics Board must have been selected and appointed by only Feiner's vote.

And since Feiner didn't interview other law firms, apparently the Town Council didn't interview other candidates for the previous Ethics Board.
"It ain't necessarily so..."
"The long and winding road..."
"Judge Facelle in disguise..."

But let me examine the idealization that campaign contributions "were returned". Perhaps it would be too dramatic to say "only at gunpoint" but that is the reality. Mr. Bass returned his Credit Union money only after I brought it up at two successive Town Board meetings. It took a lot of soul searching over a four week period for Bass to reach that decision. And why was the Town Board so happy to vote for the Credit Union lease? Why it brought in about $23,000 of annual rent to the Town. $60 million budget, $23,000. The average $15,000 assessment saved 4 mills.
And helpful as I am known to be to the Library, I have repeatedly mentioned that if there really is (as announced publicly by Town Attorney Tim Lewis) a 6 month's notice for lease cancellation clause if the space is needed by the Town, then why are they still there and not the Library?
"Bits and pieces..."
"Every little bit hurts..."
"The name of the place is I like it like that..."

Appearance of impropriety is the telling phrase and I agree with that. So even if Feiner did not "help" all those who gave contributions, the "appearance" alone is the touchstone. So when Mr. Bernstein contributed to the campaigns of Town Council members and they accepted, this apparently has quietly been forgotten and forgiven. True, these contributions were also returned but only after a vigorous and public outcry. You see, the prevailing "legal" concept is that if you don't get caught, it is ok to accept it -- even when the Town Board is voting on whether or not to appeal the contributor's lawsuit victory. But the Town Council did vote to appeal. Still if EVERYONE in government office is supposed to be aware of the "appearance" standard, why is it necessary for the unsalaried public to remind them?
"He's a rebel but you really gotta love him..."
"All you gotta do is act naturally"
"I saw your face and I'm a believer"

Finally, if I want to curry your favor and I give you a gift but you are forced to return it, are you going to forget your friend?
If I return your phone call but only get your answering machine, do I get credit for returning the call?
So when you make a contribution, the good feelings you hope to impart will survive even if the contribution must be returned.
"This diamond ring doesn't shine for me anymore..."
"Will you still love me, tomorrow"
"Pussycat, pussycat where are you"
"Roll over Beethoven"
"I hear you knockin' but you can't come in"
"I can't get no satisfaction but I try, yes I try..."

So responding to the public demand that the contribution be returned gets no "extra credit" by me. There is no half pregnant. If you take the money, you have violated the principle.
"Papa's got a brand bag"
"You really got a hold on me..."

On the other hand, if you maintain your innocence, then perhaps the sound course is not to return any money until a higher authority forces you. And before bloggers jump on this as a poorly veiled attempt to whitewash Mr. Feiner's contribution history, let me alert you to why I have "exposed" myself to that charge from that statement.
"Take time to know him..."
"This train don't carry no gamblers"

Why, because THEY CAN and if you are unhappy then sue the Town, bring an article 78 proceeding.
Which is exactly what Mr. Bernstein, having the talent and the resources, did (2X). However it is unlikely that many private citizens are similarly inclined or have the resources and ability to do so.
"We fired our guns and the British kept a coming..."

The Library Bidding process is the most recent example of knowing that what was being done was wrong but that the likelihood of having to defend it was nil.
"This is a man's world..."
"And a time for every purpose..."

Some things may be legitimate differences of opinion that are left to the Courts to decide. However that approach can be costly. To see how costly, we will wait for the Fortress Bible decision.
"It's Judy's turn to cry..."
"And a hard rain's gonna fall..."
"I think it's gonna rain today..."

And every once in awhile, they do back off from highly visible and outrageous likely excursions to the Courts as they did with the recent but brief adventure into creating a moratorium on one road for one class of development for the aid of one institution although the acutal language was better disguised.
"So follow the yellow brick road..."

But, leave with this thought: the entire Town Board, all five, are not angels and will get away with anything they want, legal or not, if they feel that they can get away with it. That is why I find it amusing when some of the Town Board protest selectively, as though they were individually above indiscretion. There is no way to disguise rotten fruit, even with brightly colored wrapping paper and ribbons.
"Break up to make up, that's the thing we do".

And of course, all of this is my response to others from an innocent comment on this blog heading that a publicly owned corporation has decided to remain and invest more heavily in Greenburgh. Tax breaks? Why thank your TOWN BOARD for their vote. Perhaps those that didn't report LCOR contributions got them in cash?
"It's good news week..."
"99 and 1/2, just won't do..."

Or, if that thought is unappealing then would it be so different if Feiner recused himself and the tax breaks were still granted because the other four voted for them?
Sometimes, if you want to get to the light at the end of the tunnel it is better to dim the lights in the rest of the tunnel. Otherwise if it is bright everywhere, you'll never be able to distinguish where the end is.
"It's the same old song, but with a different meaning since you've been gone..."

So as we bring down the curtain on this musical revue, "George G's Scandal's of 2007" let's bring the cast back for the finale.


And the spotlight is on our ingenue, Gil Kaminer with his showstopper: "Just you wait
Valhalla School District, just you wait, when I hear you're going to drown I'll get dressed and go to town..."

Reprise by Mr. Bass "the sun'll come up tomorrow..." and "curtains up, light the lights, I've got nothing to hit but the heights, starting here, starting now, e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g's c-o-m-i-n-g up roses..."

Ms Barnes: "try a little tenderness" and "why can't we be friends, why can't we be friends"

Ms Juettner: "hello darkness my old's the sound of silence" and "we don't want your revolution...all in all, we're just another brick in the wall"

Mr Sheehan: "I'm gonna wash that man right out of my hair and send him on his way" amd "poor Judd is dead, poor Judd Frye is's a shame that he won't keep but it's summer and we're running out of ice"

And Feiner?
"let's hang on to what we've got"
"and that's why they call me the leader of the pack"

while Berger:
"I've been working my way back to you"

and Greenawalt:
"like a red rubber ball, I'll come bouncing back to you"

then Greenawalt and Berger together:
"they say your days have come and gone, no no no it ain't you babe...
(separately) it's me they're looking for, babe...


Chorus under the direction of
The Village People

Special Thanks to Nikki Coddington for suggesting that flashlights could be used instead of spotlights

Anonymous said...

Feiner deserves credit for overseeing a government that has attracted major corporations to our community.

Anonymous said...

Glad that Regeneron is in Greenburgh. Dannon (across from town hall) has their national HQ here. Greenburgh is a desirable place for major corporations. Kudo's to the Feiner administration!

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, Feiner's been a great help.

According to today's Journal News, the tax base in Central 7 just shrunk this year by another $2 million, which is one of the major reasons why that troubled school district has to call for an increase in taxes this year of 9%!

And things aren't that much better in Edgemont, which in recent years has had to contend with double digit budget increases. There the tax base has remained flat for all 16 years Feiner's been in office.

Feiner's persistent failure over the past 16 years to see the big picture in terms of protecting and enhancing the tax base in the town's unincorporated areas has resulted in making our school districts less and less affordable.

What's desperately needed is a new town supervisor with the vision and know-how to deal with these issues, and the ability to communicate and work effectively with state, county and local school leaders to get these problems addressed.

Anonymous said...

Hey Edgemont. You want more tax ratables. You need to support the construction of more commercial buildings. Hey Edgemont. That means more traffic congestion too.

Anonymous said...

If taxes are lowered,the hell with Edgemont.Sheehan can you hear this.We need more commercial buildings in Greenburgh,for tax puropses,but especialy for jobs,Paul thank you in taking these steps to help the communities.

Jim Lasser said...

We don't necessarily need more commercial buildings - we need more current assessments of commercial buildings. The Town routinely reduces the assessments of commercial properties. The rationale is/was (from a conversation with Gerry Iagallo) that buildings depreciate every year. Look, Gerry said, there is a place on Federal and State tax returns for depreciation - and it reduces the value of the property. The town recognizes that reduction in value by reducing the assessment. That approach, aside from being a bit disingenuous, gives no recognition to the increase in value of the land. Given that the land on Central Avenue is considerably more valuable than it was when the current crop of commercial buildings were built - And, given that the "correct" assessment of real property includes the value of the underlying land, a strong case can be made for the adequacy of the commercial tax base if one simply revalues. Of course including the value of the underlying land would require political changes - and would be politically motivated. But so is the decision to routinely permit reductions in the assessments because of "depreciation."