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Leaders still hopeful for Elmira Regional City Center

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Leaders still hopeful for Elmira Regional City Center
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Three hundred construction and permanent jobs are on the line with the Elmira Regional City Center. Right now, legal battles for the developer in Kansas could slow the $43 million project down. YNN's Katie Husband reports that City of Elmira officials are not giving up on the key downtown development.

ELMIRA, N.Y. -- The man heading up Elmira's important project is facing a big legal issue. But it has nothing to do with what's planned for the Twin Tiers. Problems for Michael Elzufon, the CEO of Real Development Corporation, started in 2008 when the housing market was weak.

"The market changed for him down there so they weren't able to complete their project because of a lack of funds and in order to secure the funds he needed they were advised, this is my understanding, they were advised to purchase some other insurances," said Elmira Mayor Sue Skidmore.

This month, the Kansas Security Commission ordered a cease and desist against Elzufon for delivering interests in fraudulent life settlement policies to an overseas bank.

"They're working it out in Kansas," said Skidmore.

And the 'working out' stays in Kansas.

"Has absolutely nothing to do with his other projects, has absolutely nothing to with what's going on in Elmira. He has not stopped working on the Elmira project, there's no suspicion that he's going to have to pull out or stop or anything. So, we are moving forward with it," said Skidmore.

The project could be a big boost for the Twin Tier economy. Elzufon made an appearance at the Elmira City Council meeting in September. He announced that the 200 construction jobs created by the Elmira Regional City Center would be with area workers. City leaders say Elzufon believes he will be able to continue the work.

"He's still enthused, we're looking forward to moving this project ahead," said Skidmore.

Construction is still set to begin in January and end in May 2014. Elzufon was unavailable for comment on the issue.

Chemung County will hear if Real Development will be awarded a $5 million state grant next month.

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