Faced with dire threats last December from town, county, state and federal officials if he didn’t clean up his TechCity properties, owner Alan Ginsberg did what he usually did: Nothing. This week the federal Environmental Protection Agency announced it would begin an emergency partial cleanup of the former IBM property and potentially hold Ginsberg personally liable for its costs.
At a press conference this morning in one of the former IBM buildings over which Ulster County is asserting ownership, county executive Pat Ryan said that the days of Ginsberg “thwarting our economic potential are almost behind us.” He vowed to exert maximum pressure on the long-time owner, who owes more than $12 million in back taxes. According to a county press release, Ginsberg had so far failed to respond satisfactorily to EPA’s December notice that he was under Superfund law personally responsible for the proper removal and cleanup of asbestos-laden demolition-debris piles at the Town of Ulster site.
Ulster town supervisor Jim Quigley said the EPA action was “a ray of sunshine through the clouds of pessimism.” But he reminded the small audience of journalists and fellow public officials assembled in the shadows of the building’s half-light that the weather was still cloudy.