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therecord

County Sells Country Club for $1M

Rich Newman
Staff Writer

January 27, 1999

MONTICELLO--The county-owned former Laurels Country Club in Sackett Lake was sold yesterday to a Clifton, N.J., development company that plans to spend "tens of millions of dollars" to rebuild it.

The sale price of the 300 acres with lakefront property in the Town of Thompson was $1.05 million.

The buyer of the property, which was taken by Sullivan County in 1995 for non-payment of real estate taxes, is New Horizon Recreation, Inc. The company is headed by principles Shaya Boymelgreen, a Manhattan real estate developer, and New Jersey businessman Zev Scharf.

The new owners could not be reached yesterday, but their attorney in Monticello, Perry Melzer, said they will build a new resort. The old resort has been closed since the late 1980s and the original hotel was demolished.

"The construction plans involve tens of millions of dollars." he said, but could offer no other details. When it will open "depends on how long it takes to do the construction."

The new owners first made an offer on the property two years ago. The sale moved forward when title issues were cleared up this winter.

According to County Attorney Ira Cohen, the deed contains a new covenant requiring that the owners pay all county, town and school taxes or an equal amount in lieu of taxes, and that a portion of the property be used "in a commercial manner that attracts the public for recreation or entertainment purposes."

Tax-exempt land ownership has been a hot political issue in Sullivan County. Nonprofit and religious organizations that do not have to pay taxes own a considerable amount of property in the county and some complain it puts an unfair burden on homeowners and other taxpayers.

"We are eagerly waiting for Scharf and Boymelgreen to publicly announce their plans for the Laurel property," said Rusty Pomeroy, chairman of the Ulster County Legislature.