School district, attorneys are reviewing sale
HAMMONDSPORT—Lawyers for the Hammondsport Central School District and developer Jim Keena are reviewing the possible impact the passing of a Glenn H. Curtiss relative may have on the proposed sale of the former Curtiss school.
According to the Forest Hills Funeral Homes Memorial Park Crematory, Jeanne Curtiss, 91, passed away April 11, 2014, in Florida. She was married to Glenn Curtiss Jr. Superintendent Kyle Bower explained the lawyers are determining if she bestowed or bequeathed any interest to a person or organization that affects the sale of the former school to Keena. Bower said if Jeanne Curtiss had any claims over any part of the property, the district needs to know who now holds those interests.
“It added another level to the issue,” said Bower. The sale still faces claims by another Curtiss relative that the purchase goes against the property deed.
The former Curtiss school sale was expected to close by early January, 2014. Keena’s $50,000 offer to purchase the school property was approved Nov. 15, 2013, by the board. The price was down from the three previous accepted offers that fell through - $300,000 from Urbana, $301,000 from artist Simon Sananas, and $302,000 from developer Bill Lack—because of needed roof, septic, and asbestos repairs. Keena’s proposal included turning the building into apartments.
Bower added he speaks with the district lawyer every three weeks about the status of the sale. He said he will contact the lawyer next before the Wednesday, July 9, school board meeting. Bower said the district expects the sale to be closed within a few weeks.
The sale was originally delayed because the school’s and buyer’s attorneys were reviewing claims by another Glenn H. Curtiss relative that the deed for part of the property limits its use to educational purposes only. Cheryl Hudson-Curtiss, relative to Curtiss by marriage, spoke to the board in December of 2013, opposing the sale of the former school for non-educational purposes.
Bower said the sale to Keena comes down to Hudson-Curtiss. He explained Hudson-Curtiss claimed she “was going to contest the sale. Because of that threat and the low sales price, we’ve had a difficult time trying to get title insurance.” Bower added the district is waiting for Hudson-Curtiss to either relinquish her claim or establish a clear line of title.
Hudson-Curtiss previously referred to Lena P. Curtiss Wheeler’s deed, which states the property will be used by the purchaser and “their successors and assigns forever, for educational purposes.” However, Bower explained the portion of land indicated in that deed is only part of the former Curtiss school property and does not include the actual building.