From Bid to cut tax breaks for Accord skating center messy, a Times Herald-Record article by Michael Novinson, published on September 22, 2012:
Terry and Len Bernardo’s Skate Time 209 has come under the Industrial Development Agency’s microscope for projecting the equivalent of 37 full-time jobs but generating only nine. The roller skating center and skateboard park has received nearly $160,000 in property and sales tax breaks since 2005.
County Executive Mike Hein believes “political connections are the main reason the Bernardos have gotten away with underperforming for this long… They made a promise and didn’t deliver,” Hein said. “I’m troubled by the fact she didn’t return that money back to the taxpayers voluntarily.”
On October 24, 2012, in a Daily Freeman article with a pregnant headline – Len Bernado denies promising to create jobs at Skate Time 209 in Accord – Patricia Doxsey writes:
- Industrial Development Agency Chairman David O’Halloran said it’s important to hold businesses accountable for their promises in order to protect the credibility of the agency with the communities that are asked to accept lower property tax payments.
On the signed application submitted for that benefit, the Bernardos clearly stated the business would create 26 jobs.
Now, with more than $160,000 of taxpayers’ money in his pocket…
…Len Bernardo told members of the Ulster County Industrial Development Agency that he never promised to create jobs in exchange for tax breaks for his roller skating rink. Bernardo argued their contract with the agency doesn’t call for the creation of any jobs and that the business, on U.S. Route 209, has lived up to what it initially pitched itself as — a tourist attraction.
Tourist attraction? Tourist attraction? A tourist attraction is a place of interest where tourists visit, typically for its inherent or exhibited cultural value, historical significance… Sam’s Point is a tourist attraction. Sam’s Club is not. Neither is Skate Time 209, and many commenters agree:
Let’s stop calling it a tourist attraction. It’s a business that draws a client base of kids. Either summer camp kids or local kids. But the people patronizing this are spending little if any money elsewhere in the county or community. So let’s call it what it really is, not what it is being disguised as. (townplanner)
So it is OK to submit an application saying one thing and then signing a contract that says another? This explains a lot when it comes to how the Bernardos operate. Shady, unethical, and whatever benefits them most. (Reader12401)
From a self-serving fluff piece sneaked into the 2006 NYS Small Business Development Center Annual Report:
- Skate Time is a great success. At the end of May, the Bernardos received the Ulster County Youth Bureau Community Asset Builder Award, as well as Certificates of Merit from the New York State Assembly and State Senator John J. Bonacic. Seven full-time and 31 part-time jobs were created.
From IDA looking into whether County Executive hopeful fulfilled jobs promise at his place of business, an article in Ulster County Press published on October 1, 2008:
- But the IDA plans to investigate Bernardo’s claims that he has 15 full-time workers. Former IDA chair March Gallagher, personally visited Skate Time 209 and she was told by a male employee there that he was the only full-time worker, and that the facility had 12 or 13 part-time/student employees.
“In his self-reporting, he appears to have mislead the IDA,” Hein said. “Mr. Bernardo’s track record is that of using the taxpayers of Ulster County as his own personal ATM… He has used the taxpayers of Ulster County to fund his lavish lifestyle.”
From Ulster County Industrial Development Agency Minutes (August 17, 2011):
TLB Management (Skatetime 209)
– This year they reported the equivalent of 12 full time employees
– Currently under-performing with their job numbers
From a September 26, 2012 Freeman article:
Bernardo said at different times – since opening the business in 2006 – the couple have employed between 23 and more than 40 employees.
To recap: 37 full-time jobs… only nine… 26 jobs… seven full-time and 31 part-time jobs were created… 15 full-time workers… he was the only full-time worker… 12 or 13 part-time/student employees… 12 full time employees… between 23 and more than 40 employees…
Am I the only one seeing red? Wake up people!
– Jon Dogar-Marinesco