Chris Collins and His Excellent East Side Adventure

12 Dec

Remember this story?

The Answer Lady reminds us that about a decade ago, Chris Collins invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to go into business with a Tom Steube, who was already no stranger to housing court. When Steube went bankrupt in 1998, he left several buildings unfinished, and as I noted in late 2007,

When the debt went bad, Collins had two choices:

1. Write the debt off, take a tax break, and basically let the ownerless, moneyless, interestless properties deteriorate until such time as they become a public nuisance slotted for publicly financed demolition; or

2. Foreclose on the debt and make an effort to re-sell the property by making the bare minimum in improvements needed to bring it up to habitable condition.

Of course, Collins opted for number one, and the city spent tens of thousands to demolish some of the worst offenders. Other still stand. Boarded up. Blighted.

Yet Collins vetoed money that the county legislature allocated for the Distressed Real Property Reserve Fund, which would help the county deal with blight.

When your point of view is all about dollars and cents, rather than people and sense, this is what you get.

2 Responses to “Chris Collins and His Excellent East Side Adventure”

  1. Brad December 13, 2009 at 4:36 am #

    The hypocrisy here is mind-blowing. I’m looking forward to his ill-fated run for governor. I’d love for him to attempt to make some more of his customary anti-Semitic comments to the Republican base downstate. Sure, he can get $1000 a plate in vehemently anti-Semitic Rochester. Maybe even as far south as Suffern. But try Roslyn. Or Syosset. If I get the chance to vote against him I’d be shocked, but I’d relish it. I don’t even care who he’s running against. This Collins guy is a piece of work.

  2. Answerlady December 13, 2009 at 1:52 pm #

    Collins’ Buffalo News interview after the 2007 housing activists demonstration is quintessential Collins.

    “The Clarence business owner calls it a bad investment, like buying stock in Enron”

    “”What was I supposed to do?” asked Collins. “I’ve never had any ownership in these properties, and I’ve never had any interest in being a landlord. I don’t have the wherewithal to find tenants and manage properties.””

    “Collins admits it was a mistake to invest in the rental properties and said he paid the price — a loss of about $200,000 on his investment. He also said he never knew about code violations at the properties.

    “It did not make me happy,” he said of the loans he wrote off. “For the last 10 years, I never saw a penny.””

    Even though Collins might not have had use of his money for a few years, we can be pretty sure he made full use of the tax deductions and tax write-offs available to him. And not a single word about the people who’s neighborhood he helped destroy.

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