Letter: Taxpayers taken by station developer
Published 9:35 am, Wednesday, August 15, 2012
In 2003, the state of Connecticut and the town of Fairfield chose to get involved with Blackrock Realty and its principal, Kurt Wittek, on what was called a "public/private" joint undertaking. Since that date, the state and town taxpayers have been in the grip of Blackrock/Wittek, who have used us all to their advantage at our incredibly costly loss.
For over nine years, while the state and town performed the promises they had made in 2003, Blackrock failed to live up to its part of the bargain, and that failure, by all reports, has cost the state and town taxpayers more than $32 million to perform Blackrock's public obligations with no provision for pay back by Blackrock.
Blackrock had escaped its obligations by simply claiming it did not have the funds to perform its obligations due to a downturn in the economy. However, now that it has a spanking new train station with access roads next to its private property -- all at our expense -- Wittek now assures us that he has the financing to go forward with his private commercial development even though the economy isn't much better than it was two years ago. Makes you wonder if we were just had back then.
If you think that takes a lot of gall, take a look at what Blackrock is now asking the town to approve. It wants to build a five-story apartment building housing about 200 apartments instead of the office building it originally promised to build, claiming the same downturn in the economy has reduced the demand for office space.
So once again, Blackrock/Wittek wants the town to bail them out from their own business miscalculations at our cost.
To start with, the tax revenues it promised the town would have been much greater if Blackrock built its office building than they would be from an apartment building. Furthermore, the burdens on the town for services to the occupants of the apartments will greatly reduce the net tax benefit the town would receive. The cost of educating the occupants' children in our public schools alone will eat up most of those tax revenues.
But most importantly, it's what is happening to the character of this town we all loved. Those who have lived here all their lives and those who bought into what they believed was an idyllic small town to raise their families in are about to witness the transformation of little Fairfield into the over-populated kind of city they sought to escape. And all for what? Primarily to fill the pockets of Blackrock Realty/Wittek. Advantage Wittek, disadvantage town, match Wittek.
In spite of these obvious facts, it now appears we are still in the grip of Blackrock/Wittek as our town bodies are once again about to take care of Blackrock/Wittek's interests. When are they going to take care of us instead?