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Battle Royale

Council President Balut and Former Councilman David Szilagyi Lock Horns—

PERTH AMBOY – At the 7/11/12 Council Meeting, Former Councilman David Szilagyi had a heated disagreement with Council President Kenneth Balut who is a big proponent of preserving Perth Amboy’s history. The Proprietary House also known as the Royal Governor’s Mansion is what sparked a discussion that lasted for at least 15 minutes. Szilagyi took issue with a reported $3.2 million dollar grant that the Prop House was earmarked for which would have helped other historic entities in the City. Szilagyi presented the Council with documentation stating that the Prop House could not turn down any grant money that never existed.

“No action can be taken until September, so there can be no refusal of a grant,” Szilagyi stated. He continued, “Last fall or winter the Prop House thought a $3.2 million grant would go to the City to disburse. Until the grant came up no one paid attention to the Proprietary House. MoPA wants to get their hands on $3.2 million. This grant never existed and there is incorrect information being given out. The Prop House Board of Trustees is being viciously attacked. Valuable pieces were left unprotected in the House.”

Council President Balut addressed these accusations by stating that he talked to Thomasine Hammond-Owens and Jeff Huber from the Proprietary House about a support letter to get repairs done to the house. “I have documentation from the previous administration to get the Prop House fixed. $3 million was earmarked for this by the previous administration but that money was given to the YMCA. Because of personality conflicts no one wants to fix it. The Royal Governor’s Mansion needs to be fixed. I have documents supporting my claims and somebody’s playing games. It is the Royal Governor’s Mansion.”

Szilagyi interjected, “This is an independent and non-profit organization and they could not refuse a grant that did not exist. You owe the association of the Prop House an apology.”

Balut ended the discussion with how this grant came up back in September of 2010. According to Assemblyman John S. Wisniewski there was $3.9 million sitting in the Historic Trust Fund. Balut also stated, “If I wrote the bill, the building (Proprietary House) would have been fixed already.”

Councilman Fernando Gonzalez said, “This discussion needs to end now!” when he saw no immediate resolution to the conflict.

According to a reliable source the Proprietary House needs to have the main ballroom remodeled, cracks in the foundation repaired and possible roof repairs.

The Council Meetings are broken down to sessions where you can speak on ordinances, agenda items or non-agenda items.

The public portion of Council Meetings only allows the audience to speak anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes.

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