By this time Tuesday, the year's long dispute between the City of Batavia and the City Centre Mall Association will be resolved, or the two sides will be in an Erie County courtroom.
A bench trial was scheduled to begin tomorrow before Erie County Supreme Court Justice Catherine Panepinto.
That date has since been moved to Monday, the same day the merchants are scheduled to hold another vote on the settlement.
City Manager Jason Molino, speaking on WBTA's Main and Center program this morning, says the merchants have held up the vote that had been scheduled for earlier this month.
“The merchant's legal counsel was the one who recommended the adjournment from October 2nd to the 23rd," Molino said. "They knew well in advance when the trial was, we did not suggest that nor did we agree to that.
"The judge, at this point in time, does not want to postpone because if the settlement agreement does not pass, the trial has to go on.”
The primary issue in the dispute is over who is primarily responsible for ownership and maintenance of the mall concourse.
The proposed settlement places the responsibility squarely in the hands of the city and provides some cash for roof repairs.
The City Council ratified the settlement in February of this year but the mall merchants never voted to approve the settlement.
If the merchants approve the settlement on Monday there will be no need for a trial and it would bring to a close a long-simmering dispute that has hindered any attempt to improve the neglected and crumbling concourse.
“(The settlement) null and voids all the other agreements," Molino said. "The inter-tangled web of it (the old agreements) are gone. That was the first term of the term sheet – all the existing agreements are null and void. All the things that created the mess we are dealing with are gone.
"We have very clear ownership, which is the city, very clear responsibility, which is the city. Very clear as to who is responsible for capital improvements, maintenance, and operations – it is one entity, the city. Right now, it is not one entity and that is part of the problem.”
Story via our news partner, WBTA.