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Farmington School Officials Waive Right to Buy Back Eagle Elementary

The Islamic Cultural Association has received a letter of intent to purchase the former Eagle Elementary school in West Bloomfield.

Farmington Public Schools officials on Tuesday waived their right of first refusal for the former Eagle Elementary School in West Bloomfield. Photo credit: Joni Hubred-Golden
Farmington Public Schools officials on Tuesday waived their right of first refusal for the former Eagle Elementary School in West Bloomfield. Photo credit: Joni Hubred-Golden
When Farmington Public Schools officials sold the former Eagle Elementary School at 14 Mile and Middlebelt to the Islamic Cultural Association (ICA) in June of 2011, the agreement included a "first right of refusal" should the ICA put the building back on the market. 

Last week, officials received notice that the ICA had a "letter of intent" from Farmington Hills-based Northern Equities Group for purchase of the property for $1.9 million. On Tuesday, school officials quickly voted to waive their right to buy back the building. 

Board member Murray Kahn said "part of the uproar" over the sale of the property was the $1.1 million sale price of the building, which some said was too low. 

"I think that just validates the concerns the community had at the time," he said. 

Board member Sheilah Clay noted that the property was appraised at $1.1 million, which matched the purchase price. 

Board chair Howard Wallach noted the letter of intent "is not an offer to purchase or a purchase agreement. It may not ever be acted upon." He referred to a recent news article that reported home sale prices soaring 47 percent over the last year and said commercial property prices may have increased as well since the building's sale.


Sharon August 21, 2013 at 12:51 AM
"home sale prices soaring 47 percent over the last year" Maybe in Howard's neighborhood but not in mine. Down 5K less than last year! That's encouraging Howard. The Board is so in touch with the taxpayers.
Joni Hubred-Golden (Editor) August 21, 2013 at 09:28 AM
Here's the article that Howard Wallach referenced: http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013308120066
Irving Ginsberg August 22, 2013 at 05:54 PM
As I stated at the meeting last Tuesday, the appraisal was rigged to come in with the lowball $1.1 million. The comps used to come up with that appraisal used as comps, for example, properties in Ypsilanti and Canton Township, and used nearer properties that were in much less desirable locations. Why, Ms. Hubred-Golden, did you not mention that fact. You could easily have checked the truth of my statement in documents that came to light during the civil suit and the Thomas More Law Center's 22-page letter of allegations sent to the Attorney General. Because you didn't mention that fact, it makes Trustee Clay's statement appear to be credible. In no way did the Eagle property appreciate over 70% in less about a year and a half.
Joni Hubred-Golden (Editor) August 22, 2013 at 09:20 PM
Mr. Ginsberg, because there is so much public comment at school board meetings, I tend to not include it unless new information comes forward. The allegation regarding comps was not new information, it has been a consistent theme in the comments and discussions regarding the Eagle sale. As you know, the attorney general declined to empanel a grand jury, the civil suit has run its course, and absent new developments, I don't expect to write much more about the controversy over the sale.
Sue Burstein August 22, 2013 at 10:20 PM
According to zillow home prices in my zip are expected to rise just slightly over 1% in the next year compared to about 3%+ for the rest of Farmington Hills. Guess we missed the 43% increase.
Sue Burstein August 22, 2013 at 10:27 PM
Well Joni, based on your logic of old info vs new info, Clay's comments hit the boredom scale at 1000%. Seems that info was spewed at Bored meetings more often than anything else. How about reporting that the district iS now going overbored to make sure they don't handle any properties in an inappropriate manner. Former asst. super even commented that they (the district) didn't want to make the same mistake again. Hmmm,mm...admission of inappropriate handling of a previous sale perhaps? BTW, BORED was not a mistake on my part.
Sue Burstein August 22, 2013 at 10:35 PM
Might want to check out the rumor mill of what property they are looking to purchase. The ICA that is. It's been out there on the streets for about 2 months now. Joni, I am also curious, if the amount of the offer had not come out at the meeting, because it was ridiculously obvious that they were purposely keeping it out of the motion (as embarrassing as it is for them and sad it is for "the kids") would you have FOIA'd the info?
Joni Hubred-Golden (Editor) August 22, 2013 at 10:39 PM
Sue, I wouldn't have had to FOIA the purchase price. I had it from another source.
George Markasian August 23, 2013 at 12:10 PM
Well... I for one am so comforted by the Burstein/Kahn Conspiracy Team's vigilance! They're right there to quash the obvious intentions of the FPS school board to subvert our society and turn it into a socialist, communist, anti-'Merican utopia! And now, it turns out, even the PATCH is complicit! Look out - what will they find next?! Sue Zurvalec with a copy of Mein Kampf? Sheilah Clay with an ACLU card? Howard Wallach secretly watching the Colbert Report? Egad! They've proved to be very adept at what they do - beating dead horses (Eagle sale), throwing out completely unfounded accusations against anyone who dares disagree with them (watch for the response to this comment), and bleating in general about perceived slights and undercurrents of nefariousness. Thank God they're on it! I mean, look at what Mr. Kahn has brought to the table! Oh wait, that's just his phone... I and the rest of the community can rest easy knowing this small group is being ever vigilant to protect us from these lurking threats. What would we ever do without them?
Irving Ginsberg August 23, 2013 at 12:11 PM
Ms. Hubred-Golden, it may have been old news to you, but not to much of the public. When it was "new" news, i.e., during the filing of the civil suit and the letter to the AG, you never revealed that fact that the comps and thus appraisal were suspect. Many people don't have the time or curiosity (like some of us) so they rely on the media (like the Patch). You often quote the Board and Supervisor, as you did above, but rarely present the contrary facts or allegations. As for the purchase price, the Board tried to keep the price of $1.9 million secret when it fast-tracked the motion to not exercise its right-of-first-refusal. If it were not for Dr. Kahn, that would not have been mentioned. If you got that information from another source before the Board meeting, you should have immediately posted that information. When the District loses $800,000 because of secret dealings and rigged comps, that is news.
Darren Whittaker August 23, 2013 at 12:16 PM
"Rumor mills"? "Word on the streets"? Ahahahahaha! Hilarious.
Irving Ginsberg August 23, 2013 at 12:34 PM
Mr. Markasian, How about spending a time equal to what you spent on the "witty" sarcasm to give specifics of the "completely unfounded accusations."
George Markasian August 23, 2013 at 01:51 PM
Because, Mr. Ginsberg, they're already out there for all to see. And, given that you and your group don't seem to have the time to offer any credible, factual information to back the incessant accusations, I don't have the time to spend engaging you and your fantasies. Good day.
Sue Burstein August 23, 2013 at 02:58 PM
Well, now we at least know that Mr Markasian has no idea about the facts. Not surprising. He is just another lobby lady for the district.
Irving Ginsberg August 23, 2013 at 04:22 PM
Mr. Markasian, your response is typical of one who has no facts to back his statements. It's also quite evident that you don't have the time to get educated. Glad this is now out there for all to see.
Carolyn B. August 24, 2013 at 12:57 PM
I wish people who use statistics to support different arguments fully understood the statistics they are quoting. The argument that metro Detroit real estate prices have risen 47% in the last year does not mean what Mr. Wallach apparently thinks it means. That measurement the Freep reported on looks at median sale prices. In other words, the housing price in the exact middle of the data this year is 47% higher than the housing price that was in the exact middle last year. What this really means is that more expensive, higher-priced houses are selling now that the market isn't flooded with cut-rate foreclosures. It doesn't mean that any one property has risen in value by 47% in the last year.
Sharon August 25, 2013 at 12:52 PM
Thanks Carolyn for a good concise explanation of that issue. I wish my house would go back up just the 33% we have lost.

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