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Episcopal Church Home's Former Owners Fined in Court
by Jack Foran
The Episcopal Church Home people no longer own their former facility near the Peace Bridge, but last week in City Housing Court Judge Patrick M. Carney fined them $2,000 for less than stellar stewardship over the last several years. The facility and property have been the subject of constant complaints over the years by neighborhood folk regarding broken windows, broken fences, graffiti, and buildings in various types and states of disrepair.
ECH attorney Paul Taylor made an eloquent plea to forego any fine, arguing that the ECH had done charitable work at the location and was the victim of changing and capricious public agency strategies related to bridge improvement plans, and also that the ECH’s efforts to maintain the property even after abandonment of the active facility were “herculean.”
City building inspector Mike Muscarella had a somewhat different take on the matter. He noted many problems over the years concerning maintenance of buildings and fences, and said the ECH was cooperative with city mandates on repairs and improvements “up to a point.”
Judge Carney said the fine was on two complaints, on windows and on lawns. Numerous other complaints were dismissed in the settlement.
The property has since been purchased by the Empire State Development Corporation to make way for a new and improved Duty Free store. The state paid $4.7 million for the property and facilities assessed at $1.7 million, which allowed paying off all outstanding lenders and other creditors, most prominently the Wendt Foundation and M&T Bank.
Generous of the state, though with public money, critics of the transaction such as former city councilman Al Coppola have pointed out.blog comments powered by Disqus
Issue Navigation> Issue Index > v12n29 (Week of Thursday, July 18) > The News, Briefly > Episcopal Church Home's Former Owners Fined in Court
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