If and when Middlefield finalizes a deal to sell Powder Ridge to the owners of Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park, the town will not recoup profits from the sale of the property until 2014 under a deal announced Tuesday night by First Selectman Jon Brayshaw.
Brayshaw said town attorney Kenneth Antin had recently negotiated a deal that would require the town to pay Middlefield Holdings LLC two installments of $100,000, the first of which would be due at closing as early as this spring.
Middlefield Holdings, a subsidiary of Westport Capital, initially bought Powder Ridge at auction in June of 2008 for $2.75 million but sold the ski area back to the town for $2.55 million six months later.
As part of the sale, the town agreed to lease the property back to Middlefield Holdings for four years with the caviat that if the town sold the property before Dec. 1, 2012, Middlefield would be obligated to pay Middlefield Holdings $225,000.
Brayshaw said under the new agreement negotiated by Antin, the town would no longer be expected to pay the full amount up front but rather would be able to use the $100,000 down payment from Brownstone to make the first payment to Middlefield Holdings.
The town would subsequently turn over Brownstone's second scheduled payment of $100,000, due in 2013, to Middlefield Holdings as well, Brayshaw said.
"They're going to waive the $25,000. So they basically gave us a $25,000 gift," he explained.
Selectman Dave Burgess initially questioned whether the town benefited from the new agreement before posing the question, "What happens if the deal, you know, doesn't go through?"
"Then nothing, we don't pay them anything," selectman Ed Bailey responded.
Brayshaw said he considered the new agreement "charitable."
The town is also exploring hiring a forensic accountant to more closely review Brownstone's business plan for Powder Ridge, according to Brayshaw.
Sean Hayes, the park's managing director, has offered to buy the property for $700,000. Earlier this month, Hayes to turn the abandoned ski area into a winter sports park.
Brayshaw said hiring a CPA is part of the town's due dillegence.
"They'll come back with a report indicating that, yes the firm can do what they claim they're gonna do or they think it's a little iffy," he said.
The town is also working towards dividing the property into two parcels — 246 acres of which would be sold to Brownstone and another 22 acre parcel that would be kept by the town for possible future sale.
Brayshaw said he planned to meet with the town's Inland Wetlands Commission Wednesday to brief members on what's being planned at Powder Ridge.
The town, he said, is in the process of requesting bids to survey the 22 acre parcel in the event a survey is deemed necessary.
"We have a lot of different fronts that we're working on," Brayshaw said.