Friday, March 9, 2012

Can You Keep a Secret?

The Common Council Legal Committee met on Thursday night at 5:30 p.m.--not their regular day or time. The City of Hudson website indicated "the meeting will be held to discuss pending litigation on an Article 7 with the Holcim Corporation." "Pending litigation" means executive session, with the press and the public excluded, and no details of the discussion have been released, but committee chair, Third Ward alderman John Friedman, told Tom Casey of the Register-Star that it "related to a real estate transaction." See "Committee talks Holcim suit in executive session." 

Holcim's holdings in Hudson have been assessed at $4.5 million; Holcim claims that the true value is $1.5 million--a claim that inspired Sarah Sterling, then First Ward alderman, to suggest in January 2011 that the City of Hudson buy them out.   


  1. Don't get too excited yet. At some point the city will be negotiating the land that Holcim is slated to deed to us.

    That was the ill-advised arrangement, arguably a concession, that the Common Council look the other way on the causeway issue in exchange for 7 acres of potentially contaminated land.

    A description of the terms is found in the Final LWRP, where the deed transfer is shown to be contingent on the City's agreeing to bless the causeway as the short-term truck route alternative. It's subtly phrased though, which is what lawyering is all about:

    "[T]he City plans to enter into an agreement with Holcim to transfer title of the South Bay ... subject to a public easement over the South Bay causeway .... This agreement, would also encompass transfer of the 7 acres of riverfront property located in the Core Riverfront Area ..." (Final LWRP, p. 14).

    In other words, the city will be given the company's land only by meeting the demand that we also use their private road as a public easement.

    At the time the above passage was written, it was still being argued whether the road existed, or could be allowed to exist. The passage was a ploy by the attorneys to get the council to acknowledge the road.

    To agree that the transfer of the 7 acres was SUBJECT TO a public easement was a sneaky way for the Common Council to make a concession.

    CONCESSION [#3]: "A grant of a tract of land made by a government or other controlling authority in return for stipulated services or a promise that the land will be used for a specific purpose" (from the "Free Dictionary").

    Rather than get excited by mention of any "real estate transactions," it would be more appropriate for some of us to feel sick to our stomachs.

  2. I hate to say it, but you are probably right on, South Bay.

  3. typical of Hudson governance