NYRA sued after auction

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One of the winning bidders on property auctioned off by the New York Racing Association is suing the corporation, claiming the auctioneer told him NYRA demanded more money from him than he bid and had a third party ready to submit a more generous offer.

In the suit, filed June 23 in Queens Supreme Court, Brooklyn resident John Sita said the New York Racing Association “intends to repudiate the contract and sell the premises to someone other than” him.

NYRA could not be reached for comment.

NYRA held the auction, run by David R. Maltz & Co., June 10 at Aqueduct Race Track, where it sold off all 64 vacant lots up for sale.

Sita claimed after he bought three Ozone Park lots for $233,200, the auctioneer contacted him June 13 and 15, telling him NYRA wanted more money for the properties and that it had a higher offer from a third party despite his having the highest bid at the auction.

Sita’s suit seeks enforcement of the contract he signed at the auction so he can receive title to the properties on Eckford and Huron avenues.

Stephan Gleich, Sita’s attorney, said he was not sure what his client’s plans were for the properties.

He said Sita bought more than $1 million in property at the auction but claimed the three lots were the only ones that have been held up by NYRA.

NYRA and the state were involved in a long dispute over who owned the property, which was resolved last year under a franchise agreement that renewed the corporation’s control over Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course for another 25 years.

The agreement settled the dispute and authorized NYRA to auction off the property, according to NYRA Chief Administrative Officer John Ryan.

Ryan said NYRA wanted to sell off the parcels years ago.

He said the corporation planned to use the revenue generated from the sale to pay NYRA’s IRS bill, with the remainder set aside for capital improvements.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

Updated 6:32 pm, October 10, 2011
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