WELLFLEET — “We got the money, baby!” crowed Edward Englander, the Boston attorney who represents the HDYLTA Trust, on Tuesday following the closing of the sale of the trust’s shellfish flats to the town for $2 million. “We like them apples!”
Englander was referring to the trust’s name, which stands for “How Do You Like Them Apples?” and which he said he came up with 20 years ago after engineering the purchase of the same flats for four local shellfishermen for $25,000.
This week’s transaction was approved by a town meeting vote in April and had been scheduled to close on Sept. 20, but was delayed when a surveyor engaged by the town calculated the acreage at 162 rather than the 254 specified in the trust’s offer.
Town officials decided to await the results of an appraisal. On Friday, Oct. 25, the town issued a press release: “After receiving the appraisal from Shepard Associates, LLC, the Selectboard unanimously voted to approve the Order of Taking of the entire HDYLTA Trust Property. The appraisal, for $2,450,000, came in well over what Town Meeting voters voted to pay at the April 2019 Town Meeting, which was $2,000,000. The Board anticipates the closing will happen soon. More information will be forthcoming after the closing.”
The Friday vote was taken by three select board members in closed session. Michael DeVasto and Helen Miranda Wilson recused themselves.
Details of the closing, for which a new deadline of Oct. 28 had been set by the town and the trust, remained hazy on Tuesday the 29th as the Independent went to press.
Englander, in a phone interview, said that the closing had taken place as scheduled. “They all agreed when the appraisal came in,” he said. Town Administrator Dan Hoort said by email on Tuesday that the selectmen “signed closing papers on Friday. Sale was recorded on Monday. Transaction is complete.”
But Janet Reinhart, select board chair, said by email Tuesday, “The closing did not take place yesterday. Waiting to hear from both lawyers.”
Lawyer Katharine Lord Klein, who represents the town in the negotiation with HDYLTA, did not respond on Tuesday to phone and email messages.
Efforts by the Independent to obtain a copy of the appraisal were unsuccessful.
Hoort told the Wellfleet Finance Committee on Oct. 23 that once the closing took place the appraisal would be released as a public document. “Once it closes there’s no reason not to release all the information,” he said.
On Tuesday, however, Hoort did not respond to questions about why the appraisal had not yet been made public and when he planned to do so. Reinhart said, “I do not have the actual appraisal.”