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Tax-free financing for Bay Shore health clinic approved

Suffolk County approves a bond issue, and a Family Service League board member will resign to settle conflict question.

Rendering of the Family Service League's planned health

Rendering of the Family Service League's planned health and wellness center to be built in Bay Shore. Photo Credit: Family Service League

A proposed health clinic in Bay Shore to treat people dealing with mental illness or drug abuse has won approval from Suffolk County for tax-exempt financing after the removal of a potential conflict of interest.

The county’s Economic Development Corp. approved $8.5 million in tax-free bonds last week for the clinic and other facilities operated by Family Service League Inc. The league is responsible for paying off the bonds, which will cost less due to their tax-exempt status.

The development corporation’s board of directors had deadlocked on approving the bonds in two votes in September.

Some directors said a conflict of interest existed because a vice chairman of the league’s board, Jim Petrocelli Jr., is also a top executive at J. Petrocelli Contracting Inc., which was awarded the contract to build the clinic by the Huntington Station-based league.

The development corporation hasn’t deadlocked or rejected an aid application in more than six years.

Jim Petrocelli, in a letter written three days before the development corporation’s Nov. 16 meeting, said he would resign immediately from the league’s board if the tax-free financing was OK’d. He wasn’t immediately available to comment on Wednesday.

Last month, League President Karen Boorshtein said there was no conflict because the league, following state law, had Petrocelli recuse himself from board decisions about the clinic. He would do so in the future, she said.

Boorshtein said the league invited Ronkonkoma-based J. Petrocelli and two other construction companies to bid on the project. The former’s bid was more than $500,000 lower than the others’, and it has a signed contract with the league, she said.

Boorshtein did not attend last week’s meeting of the development corporation. She said Wednesday, “Our thanks to the [development corporation] for the approval of our application.”

Corporation board member Kevin Harvey asked league officials if Jim Petrocelli’s resignation was permanent or until the clinic has been built.

“This is a full resignation and it is effective immediately,” said League attorney Dylan Saperman. “We think that will solve the conflict-of-interest problem that has come up.”

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