Monticello – Apollo Mall….remember that place?

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The broken-down Apollo Plaza mall has sat moldering in the shadow of the Sullivan County landfill since the village shut it down in 2003. That’s probably not going to change anytime soon. But one of two things is sure to happen in the near future. Either developers Sam Backer, Uri Nussbaum and Harry Freifeld start paying taxes, or Sullivan County will take control of their property. The developers owe more than $1 million in taxes to local governments, according to County Treasurer Ira Cohen.

Yet, so far, the three have been able to block a foreclosure by arguing in court over how much the property is worth for tax purposes.

This month, the developers, who also own the nearby Mountain Mall on East Broadway, agreed with the Town of Thompson that the plaza’s worth $1 million.

If the county also accepts that settlement, it could lead to the removal of a court order stopping the foreclosure, Cohen said.

But Cohen noted that the county’s not willing to follow through with the foreclosure right now.

Backer referred all calls about the plaza to Nussbaum. Nussbaum did not return repeated calls for comment.

The county believes that a former mall owner buried a significant amount of construction and demolition debris on the property. As a result, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has installed test wells.

“We don’t want to expose the county to unnecessary liability,” Cohen said.

ROL