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The USPS claims historic Berkeley Post Office is no longer for sale

Friday January 23, 2015 - 01:18:00 PM

Antonio Rossmann, the attorney who is representing the city of Berkeley in the attempt to save the city’s historic downtown post office, has informed the Planet that he has received a response from the U.S. Postal Service to his petition to the court to stop preparations for the sale of the building to a private developer. You can read the motion here.

He says that the agency no longer lists the PO for sale, but they haven’t rescinded any of their National Environmental Policy Act or other determinations required under federal law before the building can be sold.

In an email, he says this:

“The essence of their argument is that we complained about the sale to [private developer Hudson McDonald], and Hudson’s action ended the controversy by canceling the sale.”

But, he says, “ Hudson is not part of this lawsuit and it never challenged Hudson’s duties or prerogatives.

“If Hudson’s conduct is all that counts, then USPS should set aside all their contested actions that violate federal law leading up to his decision, to establish that no controversy exists.”

But for now, he concludes, the Berkeley Post Office does not seem to be for sale, at least publically. 

Jacquelyn McCormick of Berkeley, who is active in the national organization which seeks to prevent U.S. post office buildings from being sold off to private developers, pointed out in an email that would-be developers Hudson McDonald [presumably fronting for other investors] could still be moving ahead behind the scenes: “The PO would not need to post the property ‘for sale’ on the website and we would never know negotiations with [Hudson McDonald]—or any other potential buyer for that matter—were being finalized.” 

In Stamford, Connecticut, she said, the very next day after the judge ruled in the PO's favor, the agency completed the sale of the historic post office to a private buyer, quit-claimed and recorded the deed. 

“The same thing could easily occur here in Berkeley,” she said.