Resident questions validity of Fort Hancock lease

The Oct. 19 National Park Service news release announced the elimination of Sandy Hook Partners from the Fort Hancock/Sandy Hook procurement, a true victory for the public. However, the National Park Service still contends that of the original 36 buildings, three buildings, the chapel, post theater, and 26 Hudson St. (the former park service headquarters) are still controlled by Sandy Hook Partners per a July 6, 2007, separate “lease.”

Control of these three buildings was inappropriately given to Sandy Hook Partners for 56 years, based on the July 6, 2007, document, which was labeled a “separate lease.” Provision 27.1.b of the July 9, 2004, “master lease” document was cited as the authority to enter into this “separate lease.”

What the National Park Service appears to have conveniently forgotten is that the July 9, 2004, “agreement to agree” (incorrectly referred to as the master lease), never became operative because Sandy Hook Partners never produced sufficient funding.

The next three sentences are the most important for readers to understand.

With the July 9, 2004, master lease document never having become operative, none of its provisions ever became operative. Accordingly, provision 27.1.b was never operative. Therefore no separate lease could be properly executed by the National Park Service if 27.1.b was used as the authorization for the three-building lease.

Further proof of the accuracy of the above statements that no separate lease was authorized by 27.1.b can be found in exhibit A, section 3- submission of financial commitments for phase I, paragraph C, on page 62 of the addendum to the former July 9, 2004, “master lease” agreement document.

This citation states that if Sandy Hook Partners ultimately failed to demonstrate that it had sufficient funding to perform the work proposed, as was the case, the July 9, 2004 master lease (incorrectly called a lease) would be “null and void, ab initio,” which means null and void from the beginning.

This being the case, the July 9, 2004 document and all its provisions, including 27.1.b, were never operative. It wasn’t operative on July 9, 2004, or July 6, 2007, when the so-called “separate lease” for the chapel, theater and 26 Hudson St. was executed.

Therefore Sandy Hook Partners’s July 6, 2007, agreement with the National Park Service is unauthorized, and improper.

Steps must be taken by the National Park Service to terminate this improper arrangement as soon as possible, in order to bring these three buildings back under the control of the U.S. public, their rightful owners.

The answers to the following questions would also be of great interest to all who oppose commercialization of our parkland: 1. Exactly how much in rent and fees has Sandy Hook Partners paid to the National Park Service? At a minimum, it appears that the National Park Service was due $1.65 persquare foot per-month, from the time any and all of these three buildings were transferred to the control of Sandy Hook Partners, with 26 Hudson St. having been occupied for over five years.

2. Has Sandy Hook Partners presented to the National Park Service proof of obtaining adequate property insurance and general liability insurance and in what amount?

3. Who/what was the source of the funds used to make repairs to the chapel in 2007?

We look forward to the National Park Service’s response.
Peter P. O’Such Jr.
Fair Haven