ONEONTA HOTEL CASE IN COURT
By PARKER FISH • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – In the first court hearing in City Hall efforts to evict tenants from the deteriorating former Oneonta Hotel building, City Attorney David Merzig made the city’s opinion very clear.
“We’re at the end of our ropes,” Merzig said today in state Supreme Court here. “We are not going to be held responsible if there is a fire in that building and 20 people die in downtown Oneonta.”
After ordering building owners Melania and Nicolae Pervu to fix multiple building code violations, the city deemed the building unsafe last November and stated that the Pervus had until April 30 to comply with the building codes before evictions would take place.
Merzig explained that those code violations were not rectified, and the city is looking to move forward with eviction proceedings as soon as possible.
“It is the city’s position that that ship has already sailed,” said Merzig, citing the nine-month window the city gave the owners.
The building owners are being represented by attorney Ryan T. Donovan of Albany, who said the Pervus have updated smoke alarms and sprinkler heads, addressed several electrical issues, and have the documentation to validate the inspections.
Donovan explained that the issue appeared to go far beyond the code violations. “The city seems to be coming after the owners personally,” he told Judge Michael V. Coccoma.
The Pervus bought the building for $1.5 million, and have rented out apartments in the building since then.
Coccoma scheduled the next hearing for 9 a.m. Sept. 4.