LOCKPORT – An inability to obtain title insurance on Mount View Health Facility is blocking Youngstown businessman David M. Tosetto from closing the purchase of the former Niagara County nursing home, County Attorney Claude A. Joerg said Monday.
Joerg blamed the situation on a public threat to sue the county over the deal, voiced at the Aug. 6 meeting of the County Legislature by an attorney for Briarwood Manor, a Lockport assisted-living facility.
The attorney, Guy J. Agostinelli, said that night he believes that the county broke the law by simply listing the property for sale with a real estate agent instead of holding an auction.
Joerg disagreed with Agostinelli at the Aug. 6 meeting, and no lawsuit has been filed.
But the Legislature decided that night to make Tosetto pay the full $550,000 price he had agreed to in 2012, rather than going through with a plan to reduce the price to $196,000, to make up for the large asbestos-abatement tab the buyer is going to have to pay.
Agostinelli said Briarwood Manor would have gladly paid $196,000 for Mount View. He mentioned at the Aug. 6 meeting that his client was willing to offer as much as $300,000.
Tosetto has state Health Department approval for a 150-bed assisted-living facility in the five-story building on Upper Mountain Road in Lockport. That would make a competitor for Briarwood Manor, which operates the only assisted-living facility in eastern Niagara County.
“Under the contract, we’re supposed to give him ‘good and marketable title’ to the property,” Joerg said. “Because of Agostinelli’s allegations that we didn’t advertise pursuant to the statute, title insurance companies are being reluctant to give Tosetto title insurance. So as a result of that, I have to resolve this issue regarding good and marketable title. … I haven’t come to a decision on how to get that done.”
Tosetto said Monday, “We’ve been working on it all day today.”
Joerg said, “We have full intention to sell it to him for the $550,000. He fully wants to purchase it for the $550,000. But there’s the catch, and that’s where we’re at.”
“We’re just assessing the entire situation,” Tosetto said.
Asked if he’s still interested in buying the 74-year-old former nursing home, closed since 2007, Tosetto said, “We’re always interested. We’re just evaluating what the current situation is right now.”