WATKINS GLEN, NY (WENY) -- A judge overseeing the case filed by the owners of Horseheads Brewing Seneca Lake against the Schuyler County Industrial Development Agency has issued a decision and order in Schuyler County Court.

Horseheads Brewing had subleased the former Seneca Harbor Marina restaurant property from the Schuyler County IDA, beginning in June of 2022. In May of 2023, an amended sublease extension was executed, running until October 31, 2023.

In September of 2023, the IDA put out a Request for Proposal for the property, for a new lease. Horseheads Brewing submitted a response to the RFP, along with four other businesses, which where then narrowed down to two finalists -- Horseheads Brewing, and Lucky Hare Brewing. An IDA committee scored the two proposals on a rubric of nine questions. On the initial round of scoring, Horseheads Brewing had the highest score; but on a second round of scoring, Lucky Hare Brewing scored higher, and the IDA voted in December to move forward with Lucky Hare's proposal.

In February, Lilly Brothers Brewing, LLC, which owns Horseheads Brewing, filed an Article 78 proceeding against the Schuyler County IDA. In the petition, the brewery's owners argued that the IDA did not honor the "right of first refusal" included in the sublease agreement. In a responding motion to dismiss, the IDA argued the right of first refusal did not carry over to the sublease extension signed in 2023. The IDA also argued that Lilly filed the proceeding more than four months after the September 2023 issuance of the RFP, outside of the statute of limitations to take legal action.

According to court documents detailing the judge's decision, the judge stated that the petition was filed in a timely manner, and that the sublease extension did in fact re-affirm the right of first refusal. Additionally, the judge decided that the brewery's participation in the request for proposal did not wave its right of first refusal. In the judge's order, he did state the Article 78 proceeding would be converted to a plenary action, as it is more appropriate. 

However, the judge declined to grant Lilly's request for a preliminary injunction, saying the the requirements were not met. 

A future court date on the case has not yet been set for Schuyler County court. 

Disclosure: The owners of Horseheads Brewing, and Lilly Broadcasting, WENY-TV's parent company, are the same individuals.