City Attorney: ‘We Want Everyone Out
For Own Safety, As Soon As Possible’
By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – The waiting game is coming to an end.
City Attorney David Merzig and building owner Melania Pervu met with County Judge John F. Lambert’s law clerk in Cooperstown this morning, following the release of the inspection report into the former Oneonta Hotel at 195 Main St. that showed filthy bathrooms, holes in walls and ceilings and tiles covering the sprinkler system.
According to Merzig, the clerk recommended that the city bring an Order to Show Cause to the judge, recommending punishment for the Pervus – Melania and her husband Nicolae – for failing to comply with Lambert’s September order that the building be brought up to code by Jan. 11. The order will then be presented to the judge for his ruling.
Asked about the meeting, Mayor Gary Herzig said, “The city’s concern is that we want to get everyone out as soon as possible, for their own safety.”
Said the city attorney, “The City is not the landlord. She’s the one in violation, she should be responsible for removing the tenants.”
If she refuses, Merzig said, the City will ask the court to give it the authority to remove tenants, with the county Sheriff’s Department if necessary, and charge any incurred expenses to the Pervus. They could also be held in contempt of court for not finishing the required repairs.
In addition to the recommendations, Merzig will also include copies of the inspection report and the photographs, and ask that the Pervus be held in contempt of court for violating the Jan. 11 date. He intends to submit the recommendations as early as next week, after which the judge will set a date.
Herzig put it in a larger context: “Landlords who don’t provide livable conditions in their properties are not welcome in the city of Oneonta.”
“Photos don’t lie,” the mayor said. “You wouldn’t want anyone in your family living in those conditions, and I don’t want anyone in the City of Oneonta to live like that.”