Ho-Ho-Kus July 15, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES III • Page 9 Council again assigns lease for Ho-Ho-Kus Inn by Jennifer Crusco The Ho-Ho-Kus Council held a special meeting last week to ratify and confirm the assignment of the Ho-HoKus Inn lease to Ho-Ho-Kus Inn and Tavern, LLC. The council had taken the same action at a special meeting in April, but a borough resident contacted the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, asserting that the April special session was convened without proper public notice. In June, a representative from the Prosecutor’s Office contacted the borough regarding the resident’s assertion, which prompted the council to ratify the resolution allowing the lease assignment. The borough is required to send its meeting notices to two legal newspapers. A Ho-Ho-Kus official explained that the notices for the April special meeting had been sent out, but only one newspaper published the information. The council scheduled last week’s session to ensure that the matter of the lease was being discussed at a meeting which clearly met the noticing requirements. As she opened the special session, Borough Clerk Laura Borchers noted with emphasis that notices of that evening’s session had been sent to two legal newspapers as required by law. Those council members present, including Maryellen Lennon, Doug Troast, and Kevin Crossley again approved the resolution assigning the lease to Ho-Ho-Kus Inn and Tavern, LLC. Councilman Lee Flemming voted against the assignment, as he had previously. Flemming has stated that he is concerned about the perception of an ethical issue because Councilman Gordon Hamm owns a minority share of the group that is taking over the operations at the inn. In addition to Hamm, the LLC’s members include Andrew, Anna, and Sarah Chapman. In the past, Flemming said he would be more comfortable if the inn were not operated by a public official. Hamm was not present at last week’s special session, nor was Councilman John Mongelli. In April, the Ho-Ho-Kus Council agreed to assign the lease for the borough-owned Ho-Ho-Kus Inn building from Korbitz, Inc. to Ho-Ho-Kus Inn and Tavern, LLC. At that time, Ho-Ho-Kus Borough Attorney David Bole said the council had researched the Ho-Ho-Kus Inn and Tavern, LLC’s finances. He said insurance coverage had been a concern, and that the LLC had agreed to provide equal or better coverage. The resolution on this matter states that the LLC will secure liability insurance of at least $2 million. The borough will be named as an additional insured for liability purposes. Ho-Ho-Kus Inn and Tavern has effectively assumed the same lease awarded by public bid in 1998. Any proposed renovations to the building must be approved by the borough. The lease calls for a payment of $71,410 in 2009. Adjustments to the rental agreement will include increases of three percent or the consumer price index, whichever is lower. The council scheduled the April special meeting to permit public input on the matter, which had previously been discussed only in closed session. At that meeting, several interested parties spoke, but no one objected to the assignment. The borough leased the Ho-Ho-Kus Inn to Intervilla in 1998. Principals Marcello Rusodivito and Franco Moretti ran the business until approximately two years ago, when the lease was assigned to Korbitz. This January, the inn closed with an uncertain prospect of reopening. Ho-HoKus Inn & Tavern, LLC, subsequently sought to assume the lease. The inn is located at 1 East Franklin Turnpike. It is a national historical landmark that was built in the 1790s. We are Fit!���������������������������� ������������ ��������������� 4 Out of 5 Ain’t Bad! 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