Even though state parks in New York face severe shortfalls, James V. Glynn managed to get park officials in NY to secretly reduce his Maid of the Mist rent from 10 percent to 4 percent in 2002 without letting anyone else bid.
He pays 15% in Canada.
Delving into the NY lease, we find Glynn doesn't even pay 4 percent. He pays no rent. In fact, the state pays him.
That's because he gets to keep 75 percent of the revenue generated through admission fees to the park's Observation Tower. Glynn got a check last year from the state for $586,300 in addition to the millions in profit his rent-free boat tours make.
The unprecedented 40-year, no-bid lease awarded to Glynn was the longest ever in the history of the NY parks system.
Angela Berti, spokeswoman for the state park, said "no bids were taken because the Canadian agreement gives (Glynn) exclusive access to the river below the falls, making (him) a 'sole source' provider."
Berti said Glynn is the only one who could provide the boat tour, because he has a lease on the Canadian side that "allows (N.Y.) Maid of the Mist Corporation to dock its boats on the Canadian side."
But now he is likely to lose the Canadian lease.
Berti claims Section 163 of the New York State Finance Law as the legal reason for giving the lease only to Glynn.
But Section 163 reads: "The term of a single source procurement contract shall be limited to the minimum period of time necessary to ameliorate the circumstances which created the material and substantial reasons for the single source award."
Glynn's Canadian Maid of the Mist lease expired in November 2009. He is now on a month to month basis in Canada until the winner of the bid process gets the new lease.
So what was the basis then in NY for a 40-year contract, granted in 2002, when Glynn's Canadian lease expired in 2009? Why would the NY state parks allow his lease to run 33 years beyond the expiration of the Canadian lease if sole source procurement is "limited to the minimum period of time necessary"?
If you need the Canadian lease to operate the New York lease, then Glynn's New York lease should have only gone to November 2009. Using Berti's own argument, Glynn's lease in New York became null and void last November.
It is therefore time to call for an open bid process on the NY side as well.
it would mean millions more for NY State.
Since Glynn pays no rent and other bidders such as Disney and Ripley Entertainment are likely to pay as much as 30% or more, the NY State Parks can bring in as much as 3 million more per year which will go a long way to eliminating their shortfalls.
Indeed it is the NY parks legal responsibility - as it was in Canada- to put Glynn' s NY Maid of the Mist out to bid.