See you in September? They hope

See you in September? They hope
The Brooklyn Paper / Michael Lipkin

Students at Bay Ridge’s venerable Adelphi Academy may have to find a new place to hit the books come September — and famed billionaire developer and mayoral hopeful John Catsimatidis is right there in the middle of it.

The academy, a 145-year-old private school known for its high educational standards and persistent rumors of financial problems, is facing foreclosure on its $5.2-million mortgage.

The Academy has been prompt with its payments on its Ridge Boulevard building, but Metropolitan National Bank — the co-lender with Catsimatidis — now claims in court documents filed in June that the school has failed to keep enough money in its reserve fund to ensure that it could pay off the mortgage.

If the bank wins the foreclosure case, Adelphi would be forced to pay the outstanding debt all at once, or let the bank seize the school’s building and grounds, between 85th and 86th streets.

Catsimatidis sees himself as the once and possibly future savior of the school.

He got involved two years ago, when the school applied for the mortgage, but the bank would only agree to half of what the school sought, citing concerns about its underlying financials.

So Catsimatidis put up the other half — earning a nifty 12 percent interest to the bank’s eight percent. Last week, he denied rumors that he got involved in hopes of landing the building himself.

“The bank is calling the shots. I don’t have any stake in the property,” said Catsimatidis.

In fact, the grocery store mogul — best known for his Gristedes chain and his constant talk of a mayoral run — added that he has been asking other Bay Ridge private schools to step in and merge with Adelphi.

“Two or three schools are very interested,” he said. “Some have said, ‘We’d pay off the bank if we come in.’”

Catsimatidis believes that even if an incoming school didn’t pay off Adelphi’s loan in full, the bank would be reassured enough by the new management to hold off on foreclosing immediately.

New Adelphi President Roy Blash — who took over in July — thinks his administration should be given the chance to right this listing ship.

In fact, he says the school will be back in session in September — but he agreed with Catsimatidis on the need for getting the foreclosure issue off the table as soon as possible.

“There’s no intent for us to move out of the school business,” said Blash, who once oversaw the school’s finances as headmaster. “It will not happen under my reign,”

Parents say they don’t know what’s going on.

“They haven’t told any of us about the foreclosure,” said one mother who requested anonymity.

“My son is a special learner and he needs the special attention Adelphi gives him. If I had the money I’d go wherever, but I don’t. I’m very worried about his future.”

Other parents had similar reactions, praising the school’s academic achievements while criticizing its finances and communication skills.

“My son is talking about college now, which is something we never even thought about,” said the mother of a high school senior who also requested anonymity. “But the kids are all screwed if [school officials] can’t get their act together. What makes it worse is that … you can’t get any answers from them.”

Blash admitted that Adelphi had failed to communicate with parents, a problem he attributed to administrative confusion following his July appointment. He said he would send a letter to parents early next week, detailing the school’s problems and reassuring them that it will open as planned.

“We will do an infinitely better job of communicating these issues, as we should do,” Blash said.

Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann certainly hopes so. She said that no matter what happens, Bay Ridge needs a school in that building.

“We have a shortage of schools here, so I hope something can be worked out. We’ll take any sale. Even [the Department of Education] should take a look at it if it comes up for sale,” she said.

Metropolitan National Bank did not return calls.

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