By Liz Skoczylas
MAYVILLE - A second offer for the Chautauqua County Home is officially off the table.
Richard Platschek, potential County Home purchaser, was scheduled to meet with the legislature Wednesday for a question and answer session. However, legislative Chairman Jay Gould, R-Ashville, canceled the meeting late Tuesday night after Platschek failed to comply with certain terms of the proposed contract.
"Our prospective buyer did not complete his contract. There was not $1.65 million in escrow," Gould said. "According to his contract, it should have been done in five days, and it was about 15 days. How do I know that he was serious about buying it? So, I canceled the meeting."
According to Gould, several legislators had already visited other homes operated by Platschek. However, Gould said another legislator had found a judgment against him.
"So, it probably would have been another two-hour question and answer," Gould said. "If he was serious about buying it, he would have put the $1.65 million in there. I couldn't see wasting everybody's time."
According to Platschek, he had been contacted by County Executive Greg Edwards in regard to purchasing the County Home. Platschek said he entered into "good faith" negotiations with the county to arrive at an agreement to purchase the operations and real estate of the home.
"We agreed to the county's asking price and every request made during the negotiations," Platschek said. "At no time was it ever suggested that my group was an unacceptable purchaser. I had numerous conversations with the county executive during the negotiation process."
Platsheck said he signed an Asset Purchase Agreement, which was also signed by Edwards.
"Although the agreement requires a deposit to be placed in escrow, it also provides that the deposit would be made with five days of receiving a 'fully executed agreement,'" Platschek said. "The agreement was, of course, contingent upon approval by the county legislature. It cannot be 'fully executed' until that time. We nevertheless agreed to make the deposit pursuant to an escrow agreement before the county legislature's meeting scheduled for Aug. 21, 2013. I was prepared to attend that meeting and explain our proposal to the legislature."
However, Edwards said as of Tuesday afternoon, the money had still not been deposited, at which time he recommended the legislature cancel its meeting.
"The proposal was signed many weeks ago. The time for their compliance pursuant to their contract expired long ago," Edwards said. "It was one of those things where we were working with the proposer. The contract was crystal clear. It said that upon the execution of the contract, there was a five-day window of time for them to comply with one of the very explicit conditions. That was the deposit of $1.65 million. Our county attorney was working with the attorney of the buyer. Yesterday, I contacted the escrow agent to determine whether or not the deposit had been made. It had not been made."
Platschek said part of the reason the $1.65 million had not been deposited was because he had learned a week ago from the county's real estate broker that the transaction would only be approved if additional parties were added to the purchase group.
"This was the first time we heard of this development," Platschek said. "It was suggested to us that we present a new agreement, which we would not do. Nevertheless, we agreed to bring in the parties suggested by the real estate broker and had a conference call scheduled for Monday, Aug. 19, 2013 at 2 p.m. to discuss the details. That call never happened. Our attorney spoke with the county attorney late Monday afternoon after I had learned that the new parties were directly negotiating with the county. We were still prepared to make the deposit but certainly wanted the opportunity to discuss this with the new participants."
According to Edwards, marketing firm Marcus & Millichap has continued to search for potential buyers, even when offers were made. Although he couldn't speak to the phone call referenced by Platschek, Edwards said the attorneys were in constant communication.
"Marcus and Millichap has been working diligently to deliver buyers," Edwards said. "Just because one person submits an offer, they know, from their professional experience, that does not guarantee that the offer is going to be accepted, or the deal consummated. I know, in each and every case where we've had an offer, they continue to try and find people. I know that they have been working on that diligently over the last several months."
Platschek said he was disappointed in the outcome.
"We dealt with the county in good faith," he said. "Again, the county executive came to me. We signed the agreement the county wanted. Nevertheless, we suddenly we became 'unacceptable' after the agreement was signed. We were always ready to make the deposit. It was the county's representatives that wanted to change the agreement. Obviously we are disappointed by this turn of events as we made a good faith offer that we believed was in the best interest of the county."
Marcus & Millichap will continue to search for a potential buyer for the County Home. Edwards emphasized the home is losing $7,000 per day, so it will continue to be his desire to sell the home as quickly as possible.
"There are offers out there that are being pursued by Marcus & Millichap," Edwards said. "I can tell you, that had been my directive, and they have agreed with that since the first day I hired them, that they had the obligation to continue to try and find good offers until this deal closes."