Wednesday, September 8, 2021


Massive {Dollars}, Stakes Embroil Cortlandt Rehab Middle Proposal

By Jim Roberts A six-year battle over a proposed 92-bed luxurious drug and alcohol rehab specialty hospital on 20 acres…

By Staff , in Platinum , at September 7, 2021


By Jim Roberts

A six-year battle over a proposed 92-bed luxurious drug and alcohol rehab specialty hospital on 20 acres in Cortlandt pits a neighborhood of householders of million-dollar properties in opposition to an undisclosed group of buyers headed by a mysterious millionaire businessman.

The plan to rehabilitate the previous Hudson Institute web site on Quaker Ridge Highway overlooking the Hudson River has raised the ire of deep-pocketed opponents who up to now have stopped the mission.

The investor group is headed by a controversial businessman who served three separate phrases in federal jail. Among the many high-profile neighbors opposing the proposal is Tom Secunda, a co-founder of Bloomberg LP, whose internet price is calculated at $3.5 billion by Forbes.

First presenting the mission to Cortlandt officers in 2015, the backers of Hudson Ridge Wellness Middle have spent almost $3 million to purchase three parcels of land, paid attorneys and consultants lots of of hundreds of {dollars}, carried property taxes costing almost $400,000 and renovated the prevailing buildings on the location to the tune of $1.5 million.

Hudson Wellness Center
The plan to rehabilitate the previous Hudson Institute web site in Cortlandt has raised the ire of deep-pocketed opponents who’ve stopped the mission.

Considerations of Neighbors

Whereas expressing help for rehabilitation companies on the whole, neighborhood opposition has centered on disruptions to the world with elevated site visitors and potential depletion of nicely water. The group has additionally questioned the background of the developer and their skill to function the rehab facility.

“There are such a lot of critical environmental points – water, noise, gentle, site visitors and extra – it’s unattainable to disclaim that inserting a industrial facility into an space identified for climbing trails and performing because the ‘lungs’ of Westchester County will trigger environmental hurt,” stated Karen Wells, a pacesetter of the neighborhood opponents. “Our consultants have discovered that the mission plans are merely unfeasible because of the restricted quantity of constructing area accessible.”

 In response to Wells, greater than 100 group members have been concerned within the neighborhood opposition group Residents for Accountable Hudson Institute Website Improvement in numerous capacities, relationship again a number of years when the group was fashioned round Jill Greenstein’s kitchen desk. They’ve raised funds by means of wine tastings, auctions, personal donations and bake gross sales.

 “We’ve been stonewalled each step of the best way by a growth workforce that doesn’t have any expertise working this kind of facility, is refusing to share any details about their plans and is as a substitute hiding behind legal professionals and different employed consultants,” Wells stated.

Wells and her husband, Andrew Canning, bought their skilled companies agency WellsCanning to Towers Watson in 2011 for an undisclosed sum. The agency, based in 1995, was a registered funding adviser offering funding consulting to a various consumer base of life, well being and property and casualty purchasers starting from $50 million to $7 billion in property, situated within the U.S. and offshore.

Secunda, the Bloomberg co-founder who has an property on the Hudson close to the proposed rehab middle, has been against the mission from the start.

“We’re involved residents who’re engaged in our group and on this course of,” Secunda stated in an announcement learn at an October 2016 Zoning Board assembly. “We raised our households right here. We perceive the method of which we at the moment are part of, and we intend to make our voices heard. To that finish, the Hudson Wellness software have to be rejected by this board or some other board in Cortlandt which can have authority to guage it.”

Opponents early on received the help of Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi. In a July 2015 e-mail, Puglisi wrote “This software is unlucky. I’ll do the whole lot I can to not solely mitigate it however to struggle it, as nicely.”

City Lawyer Tom Wooden stated the City Board often doesn’t intercede in these issues. Puglisi’s remark referred to the query of whether or not the Zoning Board of Appeals can grant a variance on this case, Wooden stated. The city believes the ZBA can’t, however a court docket has dominated otherwise, he stated.

The mission’s well-funded opponents just lately employed the distinguished Democratic-associated public relations and lobbying agency SDK Knickerbocker to ship out press releases in opposition to the proposal. They’ve additionally taken out on-line adverts in native publications.

If the posh rehabilitation middle is permitted by the city, it should then be licensed and controlled by the state Workplace of Dependancy Providers and Helps (OASAS).

The Hudson Institute, a conservative assume tank that was created within the early Sixties, left the location and moved to Indiana in 1984. The property was deserted for a few years, the buildings have been broken by trespassers and the location turned a haven for unlawful events and hunters, in response to an lawyer for the developer.

The property is close to Teatown, a 1,000-acre nonprofit nature protect and environmental training middle with 15 miles of climbing trails and a two-acre island refuge.

 Delays within the Courts

The developer wants a particular allow to construct a specialty hospital in a two-acre residential zone. A variance from a city legislation that requires {that a} hospital be situated on a state highway can be required.

Lawsuits have been filed in state and federal court docket through the six-year battle. Years of public hearings and court docket actions involving the developer, the city and the neighborhood opposition group, the nonprofit Residents for Accountable Hudson Institute Website Improvement, have delayed any votes on the appliance so far.

 Final September, the state Supreme Courtroom overruled the Cortlandt ZBA’s resolution that Hudson Ridge Wellness Middle isn’t a hospital, which allowed the applicant to return to the Planning Board for his or her willpower on the environmental evaluation of the mission.

 At its February 2021 assembly, the Planning Board voted to start the general public listening to on Mar. 2. The continuing hearings earlier than the Planning Board which have occurred since then might come to an finish at a particular listening to of the board now scheduled for this Thursday night on the Muriel Morabito Group Middle on Westbrook Drive. A closing vote by the Planning Board is feasible in October.

The property may be developed as of proper with 10 single-family homes within the two-acre zone, relying on what the topography permits.

Developer within the Shadows

A principal behind Hudson Ridge Wellness is Kevin Cassidy, whose report of legal convictions relationship again to 1987.

Cassidy-involved entities have bought three parcels of land within the space. The 20-acre web site in Croton-on-Hudson was purchased by L&G Capital LLC in Newburgh, N.Y. in 2010 from the Maharishi International Improvement Fund for $1.15 million and transferred to Hudson Ridge Wellness two years later.

An adjoining empty 28-acre parcel bordering the location in New Citadel was purchased by Cassidy-related 35 Quaker Ridge LLC for $850,000 in 2014. A house on the west finish of the previous Hudson Institute property was bought by Quaker Hill Drive LLC in 2017 for $817,000. A 30-foot easement was granted by the Cassidy-affiliated proprietor of the 81 Quaker Ridge property to permit one other entrance into the Hudson Institute parcel. That home was bought for $999,999 prior to now month to an unrelated third celebration and the easement was eliminated.

A petition on Change.org says greater than 7,500 folks have signed their help for the proposed wellness middle. The Hudson Ridge Wellness Middle web site shows sponsorship of Little League and soccer groups in Cortlandt and donations to the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen in New York Metropolis.

On his LinkedIn web page, Cassidy describes himself because the caretaker/supervisor of H.R. Wellness Middle from January 2011 to the current.

“Sooner or later, we hope to create consciousness of the necessity for caring remedy for people fighting alcoholism and dependancy. Future Improvement of Remedy middle based mostly on household values of help for the individual and their battle with dependancy. Caretaker, managing mission growth. Working to assist folks by means of my very own life expertise,” his LinkedIn web page states.

 In 2012, Hudson Ridge employed Dan Brown Consulting, a agency with 30 years’ expertise within the discipline of behavioral well being organizations, to work with them on an unique feasibility evaluation. The consulting agency additionally developed draft insurance policies, scientific types, consumer data, plans for well being and security and safety, company compliance, efficiency enchancment and remedy program mannequin.

 In a federal sentencing memorandum filed in April 2012, prosecutors wrote “[Cassidy] also can use his time in jail to develop plans in furtherance of his purported aim of creating a substance abuse remedy middle.”

Cassidy is related to a 10-bed rehab facility in Edgewood, Fla. known as Serenity Springs Restoration Middle. Two different workplace places related to Serenity Springs are in West Hempstead, N.Y. and San Diego.

On its web site, the Florida-based Serenity Springs says “Our program focuses on therapeutic the damaged spirit and is likely one of the finest male rehabilitation facilities in Florida and the U.S.”

 “Since opening in 2011, Serenity Springs Restoration Middle has made a reputation as central Florida’s premier males’s inpatient drug and alcohol rehabilitation middle,” the web site states. The power has been accredited by The Joint Fee (previously the Joint Fee on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) since 2018.

 One remedy that Serenity Springs promotes is NeuroRecover, an amino acid remedy administered as a day by day intravenous resolution for eight hours a day, stated Dr. John Humiston, a proponent of the remedy.

 Prison and Enterprise Previous

In 1987, Cassidy was sentenced to probation for one yr and paid restitution on federal wire fraud expenses in Massachusetts. In 1993 he was convicted of federal tax evasion in New York and sentenced to 6 months in jail, adopted by three years’ probation, in response to court docket paperwork.

The identical yr, Cassidy was additionally charged with bank card fraud and cash laundering in Florida. He pleaded responsible to 2 felony counts in 1996 and was sentenced to 30 months in federal jail. He was launched in 1999.

In August 2011, Cassidy pleaded responsible to 1 rely of conspiring to defraud the Financial institution of Montreal. Prosecutors stated Cassidy used his brokerage firm, Optionable, in 2006 to conspire with an choices dealer on the financial institution to defraud the financial institution of tens of millions of {dollars} by deliberately mismarking the worth of choice trades. Cassidy was launched from federal jail in December 2014.

Cassidy was the CEO of Optionable and a director, in response to a 2006 SEC submitting. Mark Nordlicht was the chairman of the board of the corporate.

Nordlicht was one of many companions of Platinum Companions, the billion-dollar hedge fund that went bankrupt in 2016 as buyers made a run on the agency following the arrest of one other associate for bribing a New York Metropolis union official.

The court-appointed receiver charged with recovering funds for Platinum buyers sued Cassidy in civil court docket to recuperate greater than $13 million alleged to have been conveyed to Cassidy illegally by means of a Platinum affiliate, Agera Power.

“Cassidy considerably assisted and took part within the Platinum Defendants’ breaches of their fiduciary obligations of the Agera Transactions by…receiving $13,552,000 in money and pursuits…from the corrupt Agera Transactions by means of his entity, Starfish,” in response to court docket papers.

The motion in opposition to Cassidy was dismissed in January 2020 by consent of each events, sometimes completed when an settlement is reached to return some or all the cash to the receiver.

Nordlicht and several other principals in Platinum Companions went to trial in 2019 on federal expenses. Nordlicht was acquitted on three of the counts however convicted on two others. The federal decide within the jury trial vacated a type of convictions and ordered a brand new trial on one other rely.

A consultant for Cassidy who attended the July 6 Cortlandt Planning Board assembly contacted a reporter the next day. The consultant didn’t reply to a subsequent e-mail and telephone name for remark.

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