To the editor:
At a meeting of Flemington Borough Council earlier this year, Mayor Phil Greiner described Jack Cust as a man of “deep pockets and sterling character.” He seemed to be attempting to justify his basis for selecting a new redeveloper, after the first two selected by a committee he was part of, or led, failed at the project. Initially the project was to find someone to save and restore the Historic Union Hotel in the center of our town. Our local government entered into discussions with Jack in executive session, without talking to, or seeking proposals or talking to anyone else.
A redeveloper agreement was worked out in those sessions. When the agreement of more than 50 pages was made public there was not enough time for full review and public comment. In fact it has been demonstrated the process was not done properly.
The final approved agreement was not with Jack, but with a new business company that Jack has said he owned. That company is thus the redeveloper.
A big issue in this process is the desire to have a liquor license serving people on Main Street.
Page 38 addresses the requirement of a liquor license for use with the hotel and restaurant part of the project. It represents that the redeveloper has secured a liquor license. The question raised, here, but not in the agreement, is: Is the license in the name of the redeveloper or can it be in the name of one of the principles of the redeveloper? The agreement clearly provides it be in the name of the redeveloper.
I pointed this requirement out to the Mayor and members of Borough Council this past Monday when they were in the process of approving the renewal of the license in the name of a totally different company, not even one controlled by the redeveloper.
No one was interested in the distinction that I pointed out. I also pointed out that by having the redeveloper be one company, and the license in a separate company, that the redeveloper was in breach and violation of the agreement. I asked the Mayor and governing body to serve the redeveloper with notice of violation giving it the 30 days that the agreement allows to correct the violation. They refused. Only one member of the governing body voted against the renewal.
I now call upon Jack Cust to do the honorable thing and show his “sterling character” by making the transfer now so that the license is actually owned by the redeveloper as Jack represented when he signed the agreement on behalf of his company. It is now time for Mayor Greiner and Councilpersons Brooke Warden and Marc Hain to start putting the interest of the people first.
I answer the question I raised: the Redeveloper does not own the Liquor License as represented. I call on all parties, our government, and the community in general, to see that this violation is corrected.
Alan P. Brewer