Saturday, November 19, 2016

Potential Adirondack Regional Airport buyer’s financial history unclear

Marshall Schecter of Montreal talks to the Harrietstown town board Thursday about his plan to buy the Adirondack Regional Airport.



SARANAC LAKE — The Quebec man who said he wants to buy the Adirondack Regional Airport in Lake Clear had no income and was living in his mother’s house as recently as 2014, according to court documents.

Marshall Schecter has also been involved in a string of lawsuits and claims in Canadian courts over the last 10-plus years.

He has formed a series of corporations under Canadian law, but they all list a home owned by his mother in the Montreal suburb of Dorval, Quebec, as the company address.

Town officials say what little they know about Schecter doesn’t support his having the necessary financial wherewithal to pull off the deal he laid out during Thursday’s town board meeting.

“There is just nothing substantial that we could sink our teeth into,” said town Councilman Ed Goetz.

No backup

A representative of Schecter initially approached the town about buying a lot on the business park next to the airport.

“They were interested in the business park to put this project on,” said Councilman Ron Keough. “It was very vague.”

After an initial back-and-forth, Keough said the discussion expanded to include Schecter possibly purchasing the business park and the airport, which total about 1,500 acres. He told the town he wanted to build roughly 500,000 square feet of aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities that would employ 150 to 200 people.

“But there wasn’t much backup in terms of who he was or where the money was coming from,” Keough said.

Those questions loomed large and unanswered during Schecter’s meeting with the town board, which ended abruptly after Kilroy asked Schecter to provide financial statements. Schecter said he “never will” and then walked out the door, calling Kilroy “arrogant” as a parting shot.

Court cases

Before Thursday’s meeting, town officials had looked into Schecter’s background. Town Attorney James Maher said he found a series of Canadian court cases that raised questions about Schecter’s demeanor and his financial ability to carry out an airport deal.

In April of last year, the Court of Quebec’s civil division issued a ruling in a car rental contract dispute between Schecter and Mercedes-Benz Financial Services. The car company claimed Schecter owed more than $7,000 in late rental payments and excess mileage.

In a counterclaim, Schecter argued that Mercedes-Benz’s actions adversely affected his credit, to the extent that his mother had to co-sign a contract for him to lease another car. The court, after reviewing the documents, rejected Schecter’s counterclaim and found “intervention of the mother of the defendant is essentially due to the fact that (he) has no income and is not owner of the house where he lived, which is owned by his mother.” The court ordered Schecter to pay the money he owed, plus interest.

“When I read the Mercedes-Benz case, as the town’s attorney I became very skeptical that he could follow through with the plan he was proposing (to buy the airport),” Maher said.

Among other court cases, Schecter has sued a furniture company for selling him a defective dinette set. He sued the developer of a luxury condominium he purchased for his family. More recently, Schechter sought an injunction in 2013 against the city of Dorval for not doing enough to deal with people who use a park across from his mother’s lakefront house for windsurfing and kitesurfing.

Corporations

Schecter has apparently formed more than 10 corporations in Canada, listing himself as the director, according to the Corporations Canada government database. Their names include Marine, Land & Air Corporation, Number 18 Corporation, Swiftwave Inc., Platinum Benefits America Inc. and Mylestone (Constellation) Corporation, among others.

The companies all share the same address: 2365 Lakeshore Drive in Dorval. City property records show that address is owned by Irma Patricia Sabloff, Schecter’s mother.

Other than the listings in the government database and other business databases, there is no online reference to any of these companies or what kind of business they do. Are they real?

“We have no idea,” Kilroy said. “We know his name. We know where he lives. We know he’s been involved in several court cases. He’s been involved in these companies, supposedly. That’s it. We’ve tried to do our best to find out who the hell this guy is. Who knows?”

“The thing that bothers me is he’s not willing to show us anything we could hang our hat on as far his financial banking of this,” Goetz said. “It was really mysterious to me as to what he really wanted to do, and why did he pick the airport here?”

Lawsuit threatened

Schecter called the Enterprise Friday morning and reiterated that he wasn’t willing to give the town his financials, saying he didn’t want them to be public. He said he doesn’t have to prove anything to the town.

Schecter said he was on the phone earlier in the day with “the people in the upper echelon in the government in New York state, reporting back to them,” but he wouldn’t say whom he spoke with. During Thursday’s town board meeting, Schecter also said he had contacted Empire State Development officials and claimed they were behind his plan.

ESD Director of Communications Jason Conwall said his agency looked into the matter Friday afternoon and was unable to confirm its staff have had conversations with Schecter or support his proposal.

Schecter threatened to sue this reporter and the Enterprise if it publishes anything “derogatory” about him, “and then we’ll see who’s right and wrong.

“You go ahead, you write whatever you want. I know that whatever you write, it’s not true.”

Original article can be found here:   http://www.adirondackdailyenterprise.com

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