The deal to sell the American Legion building at 152 North Main St. to developer Joseph Gouveia appears to be dead after the Town Council failed to come to an agreement Wednesday on how to deal with an apparent broken sewer main that runs to the property.
Gouveia had an agreement to buy the vacant building for $65,000 and had plans to renovate it into a two-family home, but after discovering the problem with the sewer main tried to negotiate with the town a deal to resolve it.
After about 90 minutes of discussion Wednesday, the council voted on an agreement that called for the town to pay 50 percent of the repair costs for the main with a $20,000 cap, but that motion failed with a 4-4 vote. The council also discussed taking $20,000 off the price of the building, but that proposal never came to a vote.
Council members who voted in favor of the agreement cited the desire to get the building into private hands and back on the tax rolls, while those who voted against it expressed concerns that the town's responsibility for the main was not a fixed cost but rater a capped amount.
"This is one of the screwiest deals I've ever heard in my life," said council Chairman Robert Parisi, who voted against the motion. "I never bought anything like that in my life."
"We aren't expending any money, we are just taking less for the building," said council member Jason Zandri, who supported the motion.
After the vote, Gouveia said he doesn't believe he will go any further with the project.
"I'm done — I've spent enough on this already," he said as he left the council chamber. He already has about $13,000 invested in the project, he said, and can't afford to fix such an expensive problem as the sewer line with help from the town. "Right now I'm considering not doing it at all."
"I think at some point you have to push away from the table," his attorney Jerry Farrell Jr. said.