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Oswego Village President Candidates Clash Over Downtown Development Disclosure

Mar 11, 2015 09:14PM ● By Steven Jack

From left Village President candidates Tony Giles and Gail Johnson

The two candidates vying for Oswego Village President are at odds after one of them revealed the news of a potential development on the long-vacant Alexander Lumber property.

Candidate and village trustee Gail Johnson said her opponent and fellow trustee Tony Giles should not have disclosed the plans at Monday night’s Oswego Chamber of Commerce candidate forum, and doing so may have jeopardized the future of the development. Giles, meanwhile, said Johnson doesn't have her facts straight.

Village Administrator Steve Jones confirmed Tuesday that a yet-to-be named developer has entered into a contract to purchase the property from the Alexander family with plans to build at least one mixed-used retail and office building.

RELATED Development Possible for Long-Vacant Alexander Lumber Lot

Johnson called Giles’ statement from the Monday forum disconcerting. 

“The premature and unprofessional public disclosure of this information regarding two independent businesses negotiating a sale of the former Alexander Lumber property shows a lack of judgment and understanding,” Johnson said Wednesday.

Giles said Johnson is attempting to deflect attention from other issues.

“Twice during the debate she criticized me for the lack of development on the Alexander site, inferring that she knew nothing of any future commercial or residential development planned for that site,” Giles said. “Now she has confirmed that she, along with other board members, knew for months about a future development and accuses me of a breach of confidentiality.”

Further, Johnson said as a village trustree Giles should have known better.

“What is most troubling is that trustee Giles does not understand what he did violates confidentiality, business ethics, and fiduciary responsibility,” Johnson said. “At this point, the Village Board has no role in this discussion and in my opinion Mr. Giles may have jeopardized the completion of the sale.” 

Giles called Johnson’s claim “completely wrong.”

“She should have checked her facts,” Giles said. “The truth is that the Village of Oswego doesn't have a confidentiality agreement of any form regarding any development on the Alexander site.”

To watch the entire candidate forum from Monday night, 
click here.