Olive Garden, wings restaurant, gym on the menu at East Caln centerWhen the RDA was mulling over Mr. McNeil’s offer and decided to go for it, former City of Coatesville RDA Solicitor and City of Coatesville Solicitor Andrew Lehr, Esq. allegedly said, “You can’t do that!”
Thursday, August 26, 2010
By GRETCHEN METZ, Staff Writer
EAST CALN — Quarry Crossings is under way, soon to be home to a new Olive Garden restaurant, Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar and an LA Fitness gym, with more space available for a bank and a coffee shop.
The 14-acre property on Quarry Road at Lancaster Avenue is owned and is being developed by Downingtown Quarry Associates LP, a division of Penguin Real Estate Investors LP of Sadsbury." Daily Local NewsDoes “Penguin Real Estate Investors LP of Sadsbury” sound familiar? That’s because Mr. Robert D. McNeil, President and CEO made an offer to the City of Coatesville RDA to buy the “Flats” or former G.O. Carlson Steel Company property from the RDA for $1.3 Million cash.
Mr. Lehr’s reason for allegedly saying, “You can’t do that!” was that he and former Coatesville City Manager Harry Walker were “in negotiations with a power plant operator for that property.
From the City of Coatesville Redevelopment Authority RDA meeting of February 19, 2008:
Coatesville RDA Joe DiSciullo, “I will say this, as far as the negotiations with the power company; I WAS STUNNED TO FIND OUT THAT THE CITY SOLICITOR AND MR. WALKER HAD BEEN TALKING TO THE POWER COMPANY AND MR. O’DONNELL WAS NOT INVITED TO TAKE PART. THAT WAS EYE OPENING TO ME!”
Mr. Ed Simpson, “I will take that up with Council because as far as I’m concerned I don’t think the City,
Mr. Andrew Lehr, “That’s not factual.”
Mr. Simpson, “I don’t think that the City”
Mr. DiSciullo, “EXCUSE ME MR. LEHR; IT IS FACTUAL BECAUSE YOU SAID IT. I GOT IT RIGHT FROM YOU.”
Mr. Harry Walker, “I never talked to anybody from any power company, in my office.”
Mr. Joe DiSciullo, “MR. LEHR TOLD ME, TOLD ME, THAT YOU AND HE HAD SERIOUS DISCUSSIONS WITH THE POWER COMPANY.”
Allegedly Andrew Lehr blurted out “we can’t do that” when the RDA wanted to proceed with Robert McNeil and Penguin Industries offer to buy the Flats. Lehr allegedly told the RDA in executive session that Walker and he were in serious negotiations with the power plant executives and that revealing it in public would be a breach of confidence. I believe that those negotiations were blatantly illegal and that Lehr and Walker had no authority to make a deal in secret with RDA property.
Mr. Walker is correct in stating that he did not talk to power company officials in his City of Coatesville office. The alleged discussions with power companies allegedly took place at a Tavern in Southern Chester County.
I believe the real money that would come from a power plant here in the City of Coatesville would not come from any kind of taxes. An “Olive Garden restaurant, Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar and an LA Fitness gym” would have brought more tax monies into the City and created many more jobs than a power plant. And the power plant would have made Coatesville unattractive to any business other than possibly the crack cocaine business.
I believe the real money in a power company is in the electric power that would be sold by way of Exelon’s lines. A power authority possibly called the Coatesville Power Authority would need to be formed in order to transmit the power over Exelon’s lines. That money would filter thorough the fingers of local individuals assigned to the “Coatesville Power Authority”.
I think that Mr. McNeil’s proposal could have worked for the City of Coatesville.
I think that Mr. McNeil’s proposal was stifled, not examined and not given a chance by the Walker Administration.
I also believe that Andrew Lehr, Harry Walker and other Chester County residents were talking to power plant owners long before the “Bloc of Four” even ran for election.
The RDA usually has one or two people outside of interested parties in attendance. the February 19, 2008 meeting was standing room only. Don Pulver and several developers interested in the City of Coatesville were in attendance. The entire discussion session is here: