It’s been a turbulent year for Elmira’s First Arena. In 2016, the Chemung County Industrial Development Agency bought the arena. The IDA wanted to sell it quickly to a private owner, but things still aren’t settled.
Just last week, a potential buyer backed out. Amanda Renko has been reporting on the story for the Elmira Star-Gazette. She joined WSKG’s Gabe Altieri to discuss what happened.
On the details of the original deal:
Amanda Renko: In March, the Chemung County IDA held a press conference and announced that the proposed new buyer would be Brian Barrett, who is a co-owner of the Simmons-Rockwell auto dealership group. At the time, the parameters of the deal were that in order for the ownership of the arena to be transferred, Mr. Barrett would have to find a new team, because, at the same press conference, it was announced that the Elmira Jackals would be voluntarily suspended at the end of the season.
On the County Sheriff’s investigation that made Barrett back out:
AR: [Deputy County Executive Mike] Krusen served on the Souther Tier Regional Economic Development Counsel board and in 2014, STREDC gave the arena’s previous owners a loan for $500,000 to put a restaurant in the arena or to support the restaurant that was already there.
And some have said that because Mr. Krusen did not disclose to STREDC that the IDA was taking possession of the arena, that that poses some conflict of interest. Last week, the IDA’s lawyers said that they didn’t find a conflict of interest. Mr. Krusen has called those allegations baseless.
On another potential conflict between Sheriff Christopher Moss and Mike Krusen:
AR: Both [Krusen and Sheriff Moss] appear to be gunning for the County Executive job in 2018. Mr. Krusen has actually filed documents with the state Board of Elections to run for that position. Mr. Moss has not, but he has said that he is interested, although he hasn’t announced anything.