men are still getting the runaround after Troy forecloses
on their landlord’s building
According to corporation coun sel Charles Sarris, the city
of Troy has no formal procedure for the removal and storage
of personal property from city- foreclosed properties. The
issue came up at a special meeting of the city council’s Law
Committee Tuesday night, during a discussion surrounding the
foreclosure and removal of property from the Marshall Ray
Building at 701 River St.
do not know what the city’s procedure has been,” Sarris said
at the committee meeting. “I do know that in the past they
have been careful to protect people’s property in those rare
instances where they have taken it.”
As Metroland first reported on April 29 [Newsfront,
“Hey, That’s Our Stuff”], John and Emmet Murphy have been
trying to get back property from the city that allegedly was
taken from the Marshall Ray building by the Department of
Public Works on March 27. Two days earlier, the city of Troy
was served with an order to show cause in that foreclosure
case, according to a document provided by Richard Weisz, the
lawyer representing Michael Kitner, the building’s owner.
The Murphys have attempted to retrieve their property from
where it is being stored, at a DPW garage, but the city would
not release the belongings unless the two brothers signed
a city-generated release. After seeing that some of their
property was missing, Emmet Murphy said, they refused to sign
the release. If he signed the release, he said, the city would
be cleared of any future responsibility for the missing items.
protect to city’s interest, I was not going to release any
property to Murphy unless he signed the release,” Sarris said,
“and I understood why he didn’t want to sign it.” According
to Sarris, the release he prepared was general and would release
the city of Troy from “any and all claims to personal property
kept at 701 River St.”
wouldn’t sign that either,” said Council President Clement
The Murphys were required to provide Sarris with a list of
their possessions that the city allegedly is holding, and
may be required to provide additional proof of ownership.
one of the things we’re going to want,” Sarris said.
Originally, Robert Mirch, director of the DPW, said he told
the Murphys that they would have to provide the serial numbers
to prove ownership of the assorted tools left in the building.
“’Cause to this day,” Mirch said, “I don’t know who the Murphys
are. That was my first reaction. How do I know that they own
stuff that we do have, that we have taken out of the building,
it’s not the city’s, so if they’re saying it’s theirs . .
. why hold them from getting their things?” asked Democratic
Councilman John Brown (at-large).
Sarris said that he has not seen an inventory from city workers
of the property removed from the building, but it does not
appear that city workers are required to prepare an inventory.
the city did was nothing more than stealing, and now they
are trying to legitimize it,” said Councilman Bill Dunne (D-District
4) in an interview before the committee. “What this does is
it gives the guys who work for the DPW and the guys who work
for the code department, not the bosses but the guys who do
the real work, it gives them a bad name. They are being forced
to do things that aren’t right.”
Dunne also had concerns about the timing of the removal of
want to know the chain of events,” he said. “I want to know,
was there not, in fact, a cease-and-desist order from the
judge? Was it before the day they removed the property?”
According to Public Information Officer Jeff Buell, timing
was not an issue with the removal of property, and the city
intends to foreclose on the building again.
The previous foreclosure action on the Marshall Ray building
was overturned due to the return of legal notices sent by
mail and the improper listing of legal notices in the Troy
The issue of the foreclosure and back taxes owed by building
owner Michael Kitner—the amount of which is currently in dispute,
and could be as low as $135,000 and as high as $260,000—also
was discussed at the meeting.
think [the removal of property] is small fish compared to
the real issue here, which is Kitner and what we’re going
to do to resolve that,” said Councilman Peter Ryan (D-District
personal property is not small fish,” he said. “There has
to be a process.”
less concerned with Mike Kitner,” Dunne offered. “The court
will decide the situation. But I would like to see these guys
get their stuff back, and I hope it’s not interfering with
their ability to do business.”
The Murphys have stated that they work construction, and most
of the items being held by the city are tools. The brothers
must now have their lawyer contact Sarris to move forward
on the issue.
Sarris recommended that, in the future, a process be established
to handle the removal of property, potentially contracting
a third-party storage company who could then auction off the
property if it is not claimed.
Hardin and Cecelia Martinez
County DA apologizes for calling news reports about Skidmore
420 incident “not accurate”
Barbara Lombardo, the managing editor of The Saratogian,
was put on the defensive after her newspaper reported on an
April 20 pro-marijuana rally held on the campus of Skidmore
The article, “Students celebrate cannabis holiday on Skidmore
campus,” by Mareesa Nicosia, reported that about 100 Skidmore
students gathered on the campus green to smoke marijuana as
part of the “420” rally, and that campus police, city police
and the college’s administration were all aware of the event
and did nothing to break it up.
Saratoga County District Attorney Jim Murphy publicly discredited
the article, stating: “I am convinced and feel comfortable
with the fact that we believe the reporting of the incident
at Skidmore is not accurate,” to reporters on April 30.
Murphy questioned its accuracy after receiving conflicting
reports from Skidmore campus security. He said that he met
with campus security to find whether or not police and campus
officials should have done more to prevent or punish the smoking
of pot on campus.
According to Lombardo, Murphy’s comment referred to the number
of students present, a small discrepancy that Lombardo feels
detracts from the more important issue of students smoking
marijuana on campus.
Now, said Lombardo, Murphy has recanted his original criticism.
She has since met with the DA, saying that it was inappropriate
to say that the numbers reported by The Saratogian
were incorrect just because they conflicted with numbers reported
by campus safety.
trying to accept the information he’s getting from security,
it made it look like our numbers were out of thin air,” Lombardo
said, “and they weren’t.”
According to Lombardo, she received a letter of apology from
Murphy that read, “Please extend my apology to Mareesa, my
intent was not to challenge her article. I tried to keep the
focus on the marijuana, and Skidmore seemed to focus on the
numbers, which to me was far less important than what actually
Lombardo said she believes that it was not the intention of
Murphy to discredit the article as a whole.
the one who initiated the discussion in the first place,”
Lombardo said. “He definitely has an interest, and the exact
number of students participating wasn’t as relevant as Skidmore’s
approach to dealing with pot smoking in public.”
Requests for comment from Murphy were directed to Skidmore
media relations. According to an employee in Murphy’s office,
the DA will be out of the office until Monday.
do believe that the number quoted was inaccurate, that’s what
our campus safety people believe,” said Andrea Wise, Director
of Media Relations at Skidmore. “But the issue is bigger than
just the numbers.” Wise said that she did not know if the
reports that students were smoking marijuana were also inaccurate.
telling you what campus safety people observed when they walked
through the crowd,” she said. “They said they saw nobody violating
the law and could smell no evidence of illegal substances
The article also received criticism from Skidmore students
who felt the coverage of the 420 rally was unfair and cast
the students in a negative light. An April 24 editorial published
in the student-run weekly Skidmore News criticized
The Saratogian for not reporting on the nationwide
scale of the rallies and said that the focus should be that
nobody got hurt.
reason no police arrived and no arrests were made is because
no violence occurred,” the editorial read. “People were smoking
pot, so it shouldn’t be surprising that they weren’t getting
rowdy. They had couches and tents, not tools of violence.
. . . Now, more than ever, we’re painted as irresponsible
children—juvenile delinquents even.”
Lombardo said that she had not seen these criticisms.
try to make a special effort at The Saratogian to show
all the positive things that go on at Skidmore,” Lombardo
said, “and there are a lot of great things that go on at Skidmore.”
Lombardo pointed to a front-page article published a week
later highlighting organic gardens at Skidmore.
were also careful in the article to say that it was only a
small percentage of kids compared to the student body,” she
said. “It was going on and it was in public, and if the kids
there think it was an unfair representation of them, maybe
they can be part of the solution next year.”
On Tuesday The Saratogian published a letter from Skidmore
president Philip Glotzbach defending the actions of campus
both acknowledge and understand the concerns of those in our
community who feel that we did not respond appropriately on
April 20,” Glotzbach wrote, “and I accept the responsibility
to ask whether we might have done better. Having inquired
into how we responded in this case, I have concluded that
our campus safety officials—who monitored the site regularly
throughout the day following protocols that are widely accepted
within the broader law enforcement community—did indeed act
Glotzbach also wrote that Skidmore intends to work with Saratoga
officials to determine how to respond to 420 incidents in
everyone at the May Day unveiling of the stimulus-funded road-reconstruction
project for Delaware Avenue was a happy commuter. Bicyclist
and resident of Delaware Avenue Laura Welles (pictured on
right with Lynne Jackson) watched on as Gov. David Paterson
announced the $14.9 million repaving project. She was critical
of the planning process, saying that the Delaware Avenue community
was very clear that it wanted consideration for the many bicyclists
who use the dangerous stretch of road, but their concerns
were ignored. “It was very clear,” Welles’ prepared statement
read, “that the planners were looking for excuses to not include
loose ends this week-