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Wed., Oct. 7
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York
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New Jersey investor ‘semi-interested’ in former racetrack property


BRASHER FALLS — There may be some interest in the land in the Brasher Flats area that formerly was destined to become a racetrack and entertainment complex.

Brasher Town Supervisor M. James Dawson told the town board Wednesday that Ash Jain, a New Jersey businessman, was “semi-interested” in the land.

Mr. Jain was in the area last week to meet with him, Massena Mayor James F. Hidy, Massena Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray, Massena Electric Department Superintendent Andrew J. McMahon, St. Lawrence County Administrator Karen M. St. Hilaire and Brian Norton from the county Industrial Development Agency.

“We had a two-hour meeting. He was more or less saying, ‘You tell me what is the best use for that property,’” Mr. Dawson said. He said Mr. Jain has indicated he has money to invest and is willing to partner with a public or private entity, but was looking for some guidance on the best use for the site.

Mr. Dawson said he had initial conversations with Mr. Jain approximately a year ago after the New Jersey man saw it advertised as available.

The property, which was once intended to be a racetrack but got caught up in a Ponzi scheme, recently failed to sell at an auction arranged by the bankruptcy trustee for Agape World, the company that held the mortgage on the land.

The property was foreclosed on a complaint filed by Kenneth P. Silverman, the bankruptcy trustee of Agape World, which financed the $2.1 million mortgage for Northway Island Associates.

The land is an asset of Agape World, whose owner, Nicholas Cosmo, pleaded guilty to mail and wire fraud charges in 2010 and was sentenced to 25 years in prison for stealing more than $125 million from thousands of investors over five years.

Mr. Gray said he suggested the area become focused on agriculture.

“I think one of the things we need to do is return to some of our roots in agriculture that are very difficult to make profitable. I believe we should look at beef cattle. You go to the supermarket and have a very tough time finding any beef that’s not grown in the Western states,” he said.

“It would make sense to put dairy farmers to work and see if they can go back to work processing beef so we would have Eastern grown beef,” he said.

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