CLARIFICATION: Village Administrator Anthony Giaccio offers this clarification and further elaboration on the previously posted story, which he said included inaccuracies. Patch regrets any errors.
During 2001-2007, an escrow account was set up for General Motors. The account was funded by GM and the money was used to pay for independent consultants such as planners, lawyers and engineers. The Village can do this by law. As bills came in for these consultants, the amounts were deducted from the escrow account. Here’s where the mistake happened. Besides deducting these invoices, the Village also deducted the salaries for the administrator and building inspector at the time, which is not permissible by law. So, GM did not have to replenish the escrow account to cover these expenses. The Village was never entitled to these funds.
The article also states that the funds equal $240,000 which is inaccurate. GM did pay a little more than half this amount ($140,000), as part of a settlement. The balance was never owed to the Village.
Sleepy Hollow officially gave up hope Tuesday of ever collecting almost a quarter-million dollars from General Motors Corp.
Unofficially, of course, the promised $240,418 payment, part of GM’s special-permit application for the Lighthouse Landing development, had been written off long ago, certainly since the iconic automaker’s 2009 bankruptcy filing.
Still, like a deadbeat’s IOU, it sat in the village cash drawer, a harmless reminder of halcyon days gone by. Carried on the books as a receivable, however, it remained a nit for an auditor to pick.
And the auditors did, Village Treasurer Sara DiGiacomo told the board last week.
In preparing the village’s annual statement of finances, auditors questioned the entry, then deemed it uncollectible. The trustees made it official at Tuesday’s meeting, voting unanimously to erase the entry from the books.
For the record, Village Attorney Janet Gandolfo made clear: “This is not money out of pocket.”