During last night’s Board of Selectmen meeting, First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice addressed what she said was “misinformation that had been presented during public comment” at the Board’s prior meeting. She was referring to comments made by Wilton resident Michael Richard Powers, regarding the town’s lease with Trackside Teen Center. The town owns the building at 15 Station Rd. that is rented and used by Trackside.
At the Oct. 21 BOS meeting, the Board had voted to authorize the Teen Center of Wilton (commonly known as ‘Trackside’) to enter into a sublease agreement with the Wilton Public Schools as a location for the Genesis alternative school program. The sublease spelled out a five-year rental agreement, which started at $50,000 and included steps for rent increases, eventually hitting $57,357 in five years, and a renewal option. Noted during the discussion was that the sublease agreement had been vetted by Board of Education attorneys.
But in his remarks during public comment at the end of that Oct. 21 meeting, Powers suggested that the BOS members didn’t have any authority to make a decision at all over the Trackside lease or sublease, alleging that there actually was no current lease between the organization operating as the Teen Center and the town. He claimed that there was no lease for the property to be found in town records and as a result, the Board of Selectmen had no authority to make any decisions about Trackside or the property.
Powers said he made a FOIA request of the town clerk to find documentation of the rental agreement between the town and Trackside.
“I did a FOIA request, on who rents 15 Station Rd.–nobody does. There’s no sublease because there’s no lease to Trackside. Trackside of Wilton Inc. has no legal existence. It’s in the town record as the resident or lessee but there’s no lease in the records,” he said, noting that he had asked Lori Kaback, the town clerk “several times” for such information, to no avail. “She has none.”
However, Powers said there is a lease in the town records for 19 Station Rd. for the Teen Center of Wilton Inc. “There’s no lease with Trackside.”
Powers also asserted that if the BOS does not have authority over the property, the decision on the sublease might have to be put to a town vote at an Annual Town Meeting (depending on whether the rental income topped a certain threshold).
Last night, Vanderslice said what Powers had suggested during the prior meeting was “misinformation.”
“I did want to clarify some misinformation that was presented in the public comment regarding the Trackside Teen Center Lease at the last meeting. In Jan. 2003, the Town and Teen Center of Wilton, commonly referred to as Trackside, executed a 30-year lease for the property, which at the time was known as 19 Station Road. The lease includes a description of the land and the Dana House which was and still is on the property.”
She continued: “In Dec. 2003, the address was changed to 15 Station Rd.. Changing the address does not negate the lease. This information is available in the Town Clerk’s office, the Assessor’s office and the P&Z office.”
Vanderslice, who had been out sick for the Oct. 21 meeting, told the other four BOS members, “I just wanted to make sure that you all weren’t concerned, that you weren’t authorized to do what you did.”