VW Parts Owner says business leaving Fleischmanns
By Joe Moskowitz
The controversial owner of an auto salvage and repair business says Fleischmanns VW Parts is leaving the village, but William Hrazanek told the News his decision has nothing to do with last week’s raids by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
He also says the decision to close also has nothing to do with Kenneth Pasternak, the man who is foreclosing on one of his properties. Pasternak is also one of the backers of the proposed Belleayre Resort. And, according to Hrazanek and a source, the federal government, Delaware County, and now Margaretville, all part of this very complicated mix.
Last Tuesday, officers from the DEC conducted simultaneous raids on three properties owned by Hrazanek’s Fleischmanns VW Parts, Inc. Two properties are in Fleischmanns and one is in Arkville. It is still not known what the DEC was looking for. No charges have been filed and DEC spokesman Rick Georgeson continues to say nothing because of the ongoing investigation.
One of the properties is the sprawling former Bailey’s Manufacturing plant on Depot Street in Fleischmanns. Pasternak loaned Hrazanek money, using the Bailey building as collateral. Pasternak told the News that there was a “maturity default” in 2010. That means Hrazanek failed to make a final balloon payment on a $650,000 loan. Pasternak began the foreclosure process, but last winter Hrazanek tried to buy time by filing for bankruptcy. Hrazanek lost that round and now he says it’s a race between Pasternak’s foreclosure and a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) buyout.
Claims huge losses
Hrazanek claims he lost 650 cars and $4.7 million in cars and parts because of Hurricane Irene. He is seeking approximately $450,000 for the former A. H. Todd Ford dealership at the corner of Main Street and Wagner Avenue in Fleischmanns, and one point, $2 million for the Bailey plant. He says it is a certainty he will get the money.
But Delaware County Planning Board Director Shelley Johnson, who is the point person for the FEMA buyouts, says he shouldn’t be counting the money quite so fast. She says it can be a long process, and the Bailey plant is just now in phase two. That means there must be an environmental review. And then two more steps before a check is written.
Passed initial step
Hrazanek’s application did make it through phase one and is eligible for FEMA funding. It was determined that the building is in the 100-year flood plain and suffered significant damage. Meanwhile, Pasternak says it may take a year for the foreclosure.
Hrazanek claims Pasternak doesn’t want the money back. He says Pasternak wants the property in order to use it as a base for an aerial tram for the proposed Belleayre Resort. Hrazanek says, “Why else would he have loaned me the money?” When asked by the News if there was a connection between the tram and the Bailey plant, Pasternak said, “No comment on that one.”
If Hrazanek gets the FEMA buyout, the buildings will be demolished and the land will kept as open space forever.
Meanwhile, Hrazanek is far from being out of business. He still has the property on Maxim Lane in Arkville, and while one of his businesses may have filed for bankruptcy, another one apparently had some cash. Last Saturday his VWP Holdings, Incorporated, purchased the former Ingram Body shop on Route 30 East of the village of Margaretville. He bought it at the Delaware County tax auction $35,000.