News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.


David Merzig

Richfield Board Ponders Disputed Plan’s Future


Richfield Board Ponders

Disputed Plan’s Future


RICHFIELD SPRINGS – Oneonta attorney David Merzig has determined the Town of Richfield’s new – and disputed – zoning code might not survive a court challenge.

And the town board plans to meet at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 17, with new Town Attorney Peter Hobaica to determine whether and how to set it aside and perhaps start anew, said newly elected Town Supervisor Nick Palevsky.

The plan, which envisioned the town as mainly agricultural and residential, led to the election of Palevsky and two allies, Fred Eckler and Ed Bello Jr., last Nov. 5.

City Takes Hotel Owners To Court


Lawyer: City Hall Won’t

Take Blame For Deaths

By PARKER FISH • Special to

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.

The Building at 195 Main St. (Ian Austin/

“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.

Judge Coccoma Advises City, Town To Negotiate Temporary Fire Contract

Judge Coccoma Tells City, Town

To Negotiate Temporary Fire Pact

City Attorney David Merzig addresses Supreme Court Judge Michael V. Coccoma during this morning's hearing on the town and city fire contract. (Ian Austin/
City Attorney David Merzig addresses Supreme Court Judge Michael V. Coccoma during this morning’s hearing on the town and city fire contract. (Ian Austin/


COOPERSTOWN – A state Supreme Court judge this morning ordered the City of Oneonta and Town of Oneonta Fire District #1 to negotiate an extension to the current contract so the Oneonta Fire Department can continue protecting homes and businesses after midnight Dec. 31.

“It’s not the role of the court to negotiate a contract,” said Judge Michael V. Coccoma.  “But I’ll make myself available.”

During the hour-long hearing in Supreme Court chambers at the Otsego County Annex Building, both City Attorney David Merzig and Terence Hannigan, attorney for the town Fire Commissioners, presented their arguments.

“We’re trying to resolve this,” said Hannigan.  “But they are a vendor, and now they want 30 percent more or they won’t provide service.  The commissioners have an obligation to provide service, but they also have an obligation to show what tax dollars are being used for.”

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