March 29, 2007
Frontier Town ownership disputed headed to court - Plattsburgh Press Republican
The former owner of the Frontier Town theme park in North Hudson has appealed loss of ownership at a tax sale to the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court.
Panther Mountain Water Park Inc. contends Essex County should have allowed it to buy back the property before it was sold in a tax auction.
Panther Mountain corporate officers tried to pay the back taxes on the first day of the tax sale — before the park had been auctioned off — and were turned away.
The County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution allowing property owners to buy back their properties up to the close of business the day before the October 2004 tax sale.
Panther Mountain contended it did try to do so the day before Frontier Town was sold at a two-day tax sale, but because the sale had already commenced, county officials denied the request.
Panther Mountain initially sued in State Supreme Court of Essex County, and Justice James Dawson upheld the county.
Frontier Town, located off exit 29 of the Adirondack Northway, closed in 1998, after Panther Mountain had operated it since 1995.
Essex County seized the tourist attraction — which was in four parcels — for unpaid back taxes in 2004.
Two smaller properties were removed from the sale when Frontier Town’s former co-owner, Kenneth Delefrange, paid about $19,000 in back taxes and fees due on them before the tax sale began. He got 132 wooded acres next to Frontier Town and an adjacent 0.8-acre parcel, assessed at a total of $100,000.
The theme-park buildings were in two remaining parcels, but the buyers have been unable to take possession because of the litigation.
Leonard Singer of Rockland County paid $210,000 for most of Frontier Town. Singer got the Frontier Town motel, restaurant and western-town buildings of the park, on 85 acres assessed at $1.3 million.
The other Frontier Town purchaser was George Moore of Keeseville, who got the A-frame entrance building and parking lot for $130,000.
The 50-acre parcel was assessed at about $800,000.
Almost all of the park’s contents, such as saddles and stagecoaches, were previously sold by Gokey’s Auctions of North Hudson.
Arthur Benson opened Frontier Town in 1952 as a Wild West park, featuring cowboys and Indians, train robberies and rodeos.
It changed hands several times over the years, until Panther Mountain bought it from a Long Island bank before the 1995 season.
County Attorney Daniel Manning III said the Appellate Division may hear the case next month.