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Elwood Condo Developer Denies Bribery Accusation

Dinner invitation simple hospitality, says Engel Burman.

Engel Burman group, developers of the proposed Seasons at Elwood, are denying allegations that recently distributed dinner invitations are an ethical violation of the Town's review process.

In an email to the press, 'Preserve Elwood Now,' a group in opposition to the development, labeled the invitation bribery and called it "reminiscent of the days of Tammany Hall." A protest outside the restaurant was considered, states the email, but was struck due to safety concerns.

The invitation itself reads: In order to attend the dinner you must be present at the Town of Huntington Board meeting at Town Hall, 100 Main Street, Huntington, NY in support of the Seasons at Elwood on January 8, 2013 at 2 p.m.

Related: Oak Tree Dairy: Elwood Has Two Options l Elwood Residents Organize Against Proposed Condos

Beth Silverman, Director of Business Development with Engel Burman, called Preserve Elwood Now's email a "smokescreen tactic."

The invitations were sent out solely to those who had previously spoken out in support of the development or expressed interest in buying, she said, calling it "simple hospitality." "We need people who want to live there to stand up in support of the project," she said.

The dinner will take place at 4:30 p.m. following the Town board meeting. Prior to the meal, Silverman said that representatives will present new renderings, discuss traffic, and have sales representatives on hand. Renderings and the proposed site plan can be seen here.

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Dad of Three January 18, 2013 at 05:27 PM
For Ms Provenzano, I wasn't at Town Hall, but did watch the video posted on Town's website (a terrific service by the Town, by the way, as some of us can't be there often), and I did not notice audience behavior any more "rude" than normal. You may not be familiar with Town Board meetings, but it tends to be more like the Israeli Knesset than then US Senate, & "shout outs" are part of the norm; and, yes, some people are more rude than others. But, on the question of the dinner, the poster below, vera charles, really had it nailed to the wall when she observed "Dinner was not sleazy, but Town Hall tie-in by Engel Burman was sleazy." Frankly, their tactics in this whole process have been "questionable" (a polite way of suggesting there is an odor about them). First, their rep sends out a letter in December, as Allie's Grampa had previously noted, which was addressed to ""PTA members, Booster Club and affiliates". If you've ever been a PTA officer, you would know that any use of a PTA mailing list (which cannot be obtained by FOIL, since PTA is not a governmental body but a 501-C-3 organization) may only be for PTA purposes, and is not releasable to outside parties, like Engel Burman. So, first you have to ask, how was any list of PTA members ever obtained, and why was it misused? Then, while you (and some) were innocently attending that dinner, why did the developer link attendance at Town Hall to their dinner if the dinner was merely an information session?
Allie's Grandpa January 19, 2013 at 07:27 PM
To Patricia Provenzano, I might agree with you that some people would have come to Town Hall to support the project, without the dinner invitation incentive offered by the developer. I know one good friend who did. But that wouldn't have been the case for every person who did express support at the Town Hall meeting, and then go to the dinner provided by the project's developer. The offense was not that of those who were invited - contingent with their willingness to go to the Town Board meeting and express support for the proposal - but with the developer who offered that incentive. I kind of like Vera Charles summary above, where she said that the Dinner was not sleazy, but the Town Hall tie-in by Engel Burman, the developer, that was what was sleazy. Thanks, Ms Charles, you summarized it better than I did.
Jim Cameron January 23, 2013 at 03:31 AM
The Engel Burman/Beth Silverman letter has been posted in the PDF section of this article. Check it out. Sorry it took me so long.
Jim Cameron January 23, 2013 at 03:33 AM
Letter is up. Check it out and join us at the Moose Lodge Wednesday, the 23rd at 7:30pm for more information.
Allie's Grandpa January 23, 2013 at 03:54 AM
Very interesting. How did Engel Burman get hold of a list of PTA members to whom they could send that letter? Those lists are supposed to be private. Thanks for posting the letter.

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