Friday, June 15, 2007

Mid-June Meat

REPUBLICANS WAIT. Noteworthy at last night’s meeting of the Catskill Republican Town Committee, at the Senior Center, is what did not happen. The members opted to not choose among would-be Republican nominees for election to the offices of Town Supervisor, Town Councilperson and Town Clerk. The usual practice has been for the Committee members to adopt candidates whom they recommend for endorsement by the party Caucus. The Committee members held off, we understand, because of anticipated heaving and straining over Council endorsements. There are three active candidates for two seats: Gary Kistinger, Joe Leggio and Pat Walsh. Although Mr Leggio is a Republican incumbent seeking re-election, his re-nomination is not a slam dunk. By way of contrast, Peter Markou seems to be the sole candidate for the Republican nomination for Town Supervisor, since incumbent Republican Joe Izzo is retiring. As for the Town Clerkship (which is indeed an elective public office, like that of County Clerk but unlike that of Village Clerk), a contest between Elizabeth Izzo (Joe’s daughter) and Barbara Pollack Bloom has been foreshadowed, but the latest word is that it will not happen. The Caucus takes place Thursday at 7pm at the Elks Lodge. All registered local Republicans are eligible to participate. The Democrats will be mulling their own choices an hour earlier at at Retriever Roasters.

LOGJAM BROKEN? Persistent, scathing complaints about how a New York City foundation has managed funds entrusted to it for midHudson scenic enhancement projects may have produced results. The complaints (“repeated delays,” “profound disappointment,” “utter and complete disappointment,” “snail-paced” allocations,“utterly failed to fulfill the terms of the agreement,” “multiple” phony “excuses,” misfeasance and lots of non-feasance) dating from early 2003, relate to how the Hudson River Foundation has managed a $2.5 million fund that Athens Generating Company gave it to support scenic enhancement projects within the Olana State Historic Site’s viewshed. According to Athens Gen attorney Ruth Leistensnider, the Foundation has been “snail-paced” about soliciting grant applications, evaluating applications, and dispensing grants. It has failed as well to make promised periodic reports to Athens Gen and to Scenic Hudson, and to get proper authorization for grants it actually has made. Ms Leistensnider demanded (in a letter of June 4th) that the Foundation’s Board either “approve a complete expenditure of the remaining monies in the Fund” by the end of the month, in keeping with the five-year-old agreement, “or else approve transfer of the remaining monies” to another non-profit chosen by Athens Gen and Scenic Hudson. A Board source told Seeing Greene today that the Board did indeed agree to allocate all the remaining monies--more than $2 million, according to another source--so that some “wonderful” projects will be supported by the end of this month. That version of the outcome, however, has not been confirmed by the Hudson River Foundation’s executive director, Clay Hiles. As of noon today, Mr Hiles had not returned our call. [No return call by 4:30 either]

PIG OUT. The deal to transform Catskill’s quondam Firehouse Tavern into a stylish bistro is off. Several factors, we understand, contributed. The two-story building at 353 Main Street now is offered for sale by owner Michael Sanders (845-246-7962). His asking price in March was $425,000; the agreed price before the deal came unglued, we hear, was in the high 300’s. That’s a hefty advance on what Mr Sanders accepted in 2002 from mortgagees Dennis Izzillo and Kathy Passaro, namely, $135,000. According to court documents, the buyer(s) failed to make payments of $1161 for at least three months in 2005 and for all the months since. They also allegedly failed to pay the agreed 10% deposit. And they owe gobs of State and property taxes. Anyhow, in days not so long past, the place was run by Santa and Ozzy Nehr, and old customers fondly recall sandwiches, such as The Yankee Clipper and The Pilgrim, that were concocted by chef Alke Pittas. At that time it was called The Village Tavern. The original sign is in the basement.

BOOKSTORE IN. Just down the street, meanwhile, the new bookstore space is almost ready for occupancy, and proprietor Tony DeVito plans to use it for “a range of related activities: books, readings, performances, art, etc.” For starters, in July: A Play-ful Evening, in which “the audience are the actors, switching roles from act to act.” Tony solicits ideas about a suitable name for the place. Is BiblioCat too cute? Tony’s Wordshop? Send suggestions to

BTW, prospective buyers of other commercial properties in GreeneLand may welcome the news that our leading real estate agency touts a “centraly” located building that is “currantly used as a candy store,” along with a “great investment oppertunity” in “Jefferson Hiehgts,” and a Cairo establishment that in better days was a “restraint/bar.”

RE-OPENING tomorrow (6/16), at Historic Catskill Point, at 9:30am., for the first of 20 Saturdays this year,is the Riverside Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market. Musical entertainment provided by Michael DeBenedictus.

CARNEGIE TO CATSKILL. Fresh from his Carnegie Hall recital (Wednesday night), the hot young classical pianist from Italy, Michelangelo Carbonara, will perform tomorrow night here. He’ll do a benefit concert for the Community Center, at 7 pm., at BRIK. A few tickets still are available ($20) from the Community Center or at the gallery.

HARMONY HUNT. Currently under way is a program of facilitated dialogue between Catskill Village Trustees and firefighters, as well as among the fire-fighters (active and formerly tive). It’s an initiative launched by Village President Vincent Seeley, conducted by Common Ground, in hope of healing wounds and reviving the spirit of brotherhood. Although they have a rich history of quarreling, the firefighters also respond to sentiments of the sort that are encapsulated in these words (which I found posted on a wall in the Greenville fire station years ago, & applicable to many services):

It’s not for money, it not for fame. It’s not for any personal gain. It’s just for love of fellow man. It’s just to give a helping hand.

It’s just to give some of yourself. It’s something you can’t buy with wealth. It’s not for medals worn with pride, It’s for the feeling deep inside.

It’s your reward down in your heart, It’s feeling that you’ve been a part Of helping others far and near, That makes you want to VOLUNTEER.


KPassaro said...

I would like to clear a few things up. While it is true I was on the property agreement with Mr. Izzillo, I was never on the corporation of the tavern though I was lead to believe so. I left the tavern, or shall I say was squeezed out by Mr. Izzillo in June of 2005. At that time I conferred with the attorneys who handled much of the tavern business and was pretty much told that there was not a whole lot I could do. Dennis would not return my calls when I attempted to discuss either turning the building back to Mr. Sanders, selling it, whatever. The mortgage and other bills were paid while I was there, the place was steady and the food was good. For reasons known only to Dennis he stopped paying the mortgage in September of 2005, this I was told by Mr. Sanders. I was also told by various people that when I left Dennis claimed I took off with money. That is an out and out lie, I had a hard enough time getting paid for what I worked and NEVER got reimbursed for the time and money I put in to get the business suitable for opening and all along the way while it was open. I was not on the tavern accounts and doubt there was much money in them anyway. I was also not the one who ran a business and lived RENT FREE above it while disregarding all financial obligations AND was still able to buy a new truck and go on vacations. When I left I was unemployed for several months and was not in a position to pay for him and the business to continue as they were nor would I. I had my own family, bills, mortgage to take care of and I was not the one who had/has a steady substantial income. This was not a hobby for me, it was my life. It was not for lack of trying on my part, (which should be documented witht he attornys both his and mine) I wanted to either get out completely or get rid of it but he would not cooperate. Up until a couple of months ago I received absolutly NO correspndence regarding the tavern. Whenever I wanted to find something out I had to call the lawyer, call the town call who ever I could to find out what was being paid and what wasn't. When I left the only things I left with was the experience of running a restaurant and the many people I met thtrough it. Those are also the only two things I miss. I would have loved to continue to run the business but that was impossible, as I said I was not on the corporation and I was not the one living there and he would budge on neither. I had a very good freind comment to me that this was a very expensive show of spite on his part and she is right. I do not owe gobs of money to the IRS or anyone else, my bills are paid ON TIME. Before you print what you assume as truth you may want to verify your information. I have my lawyers number handy if you'd like to chat with her to confirm any of what I have said. I had my EX partner attempt to smear my name already I do not need a perfect stranger doing it also. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

A little historical correction: My brother-in-law, Alke (the chef), along with the Nehr's, ran what was formerly The New York Restaurant--and was, under their aegis, called The Village Pub. I know because I worked along side of it for sixteen years with Manuel in the Mayflower. Thank you, though, for the mention, Dick.

Anonymous said...

LOL, I wonder what made Dennis think he could run a restaurant?