On May 3, 2018, the Appellate Division of New York State’s Supreme Court annulled the Village of Lake Placid’s effort to seize two parcels of land owned by the Adirondack Experience (formerly the Adirondack Museum).
The parcels, located at 2476-2478 Main Street in Lake Placid, were originally acquired by the museum in 2007 for the creation of a branch location, a plan which has since been put on hold. The Village proposes to erect a parking garage on the site.
Over a period of years, Village of Lake Placid Mayor Craig Randall made repeated efforts to persuade the museum to sell the two parcels for what the museum says was “a small fraction of their appraised value of $1.5M.”
The Adirondack Experience’s trustees, citing their legally mandated fiduciary responsibility to protect the nonprofit organization’s assets, rejected the offers as insufficient and unsupportable. In response, Mayor Randall initiated an eminent domain procedure in 2017 in an effort to take the parcels.
The Adirondack Experience subsequently filed suit in the Appellate Court, Third Division, to have the eminent domain action vacated based on the Village’s failure to properly assess the impact the proposed garage would have on Main Street traffic. Oral arguments in the case were held in Albany on March 27, 2018. A ruling in favor of the Adirondack Experience was handed down on May 3, 2018.
“We are delighted that the Appellate Court sided with the Adirondack Experience in blocking the Village of Lake Placid’s unprecedented, brazen attempt to seize a nonprofit organization’s assets,” said David Kahn, the Adirondack Experience’s Executive Director in a statement sent to the press. “We also look forward to success in a related matter: having the courts reverse the Essex County Assessor’s revocation of the two parcels’ tax exempt status. Mayor Randall and other local officials will soon be deposed as part of a separate lawsuit filed in that matter.”
According to Museum officials, as the Village initiated the eminent domain process in 2017, the local assessor simultaneously revoked the tax exempt status of the two properties and slashed their assessed value by 28% from $1,188,000 to $850,000.
The Adirondack Experience says that both steps were politically-motivated “dirty tricks” aimed at pressuring the museum to sell its property and to force down its value in the event of a either a sale or its seizure via eminent domain.
For more information on Adirondack Experience, call (518) 352-7311 or visit their website.