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February 8, 2010 - 10:03pm

Council denies local landlord chance to buy foreclosed property in auction

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, city council.

Landlords, if you expect to buy property through future city real estate auctions, you better make sure you don't have any prior code violations on your record.

At least that's the message the Batavia City Council decided to send tonight when it voted against selling a property at 9 Willow St. to Michael Pullinzi, who has reportedly been cited 13 times over seven years on five different properties.

"Our neighborhoods have problems and go bad one year at a time, one day at a time, one decision at a time," said Councilman Bill Cox in support of the motion to deny Pullinzi a chance to buy the property. "We need to start saying, ‘we’re no longer going to accept the status quo.'"

Pullinzi bid $21,000 for the property, which came up for auction after the city foreclosed on the land for non-payment of property taxes.

The second highest bidder, at about $20,500, will now be offered the property.

Council members Rose Mary Christian, Frank Ferrando, Sam Baron and Bob Bialkowski all voted against denying Pullinzi the land.

Ferrando said it was unfair to deny Pullinzi the property "out of the blue," when the council has never acted before on its discretion to deny an auction winner the real estate.

"We’ve never looked at this," Ferrando said. "It doesn’t mean we shouldn't. This is great. But I think we should from this point on work to put together a procedure and a process and be able to inform the citizens of our community this is the criteria established, if you’re going to bid on property, here are our expectations."

City ordinances allow the council to consider past history and decide whether the auction winner will be a responsible property owner.

Christian argued that the city has a code-enforcement officer and Pullinzi promptly responded to previous citations, fixing the problems in question.

City Council President Marianne Clattenburg favored taking a stand on this case to send a message to other landlords.

"There is a cost associated with opening up (those cases) and investigating them," Clattenburg said. "If you want to make the case that they’re closed that’s fine, but some of us have a problem with the fact that they existed in the first place."

After being interrupted by Christian, Clattenburg added, "The city had to hire another code-enforcement officer at considerable expense because of issues like this. Let’s not forget that we made it an issue to enforce this at considerable expense to the taxpayer."

Also sold at auction were 3 Roosevelt Ave. to Robert Norton for $35,000, and 3-5 Hutchins Place to Greg Post for $600. Both of those properties were sold following property-tax foreclosure.

The following properties were also sold: 432 South Jackson and 438-440 South Jackson to Richard Spicola for $3,100; 618 Ellicott St. Rear to Genesee & Mohawk Valley Railroad for $1,000; East Main Street Rear to Greg Post for $500; and, E/S Clifton Ave. to David J. MonteVerde for $500.


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Bryant Tyson
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Can't help but wonder who the second bidder was and who there related to?
Rich Martin
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Mr Pullinzi, how does it feel to be made an example of? Unfortunately for you the timing of the sale clashed with the new council pres. wanting to flex her muscle and make a name for her self... and at your expense! If she or any of the others that voted with her had a clue as to what being a landlord in Batavia was actually like, perhaps they would better understand the issue. On a side note, didn't council in the past feel that a part-time enforcement officer was all Batavia needed? I seem to recall Barb Toal was told that there wasn't enough work as a C/E/O to warrent her working full time. Hmmmmm
Karen Miconi
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Mr. Pullinzi, I think you should sue the pants off the city for DEFRAMATION!! They did splash your family name across the news, and UNFAIRLY, prevented you from buying that property. Who got it instead? Perhaps one of councils, or the city managers close friends? This SCREAMS Hidden Agenda. I am soooo sick of this crap. Lets See The List!As a matter of fact, make all the infractions, both Homeowners and Landlords alike PUBLIC. PS Mike you have to be careful how you address Howard. He is the one who makes this site possible, and you have to be careful not to disrespect him, or he will remove your comments. Now personal attacks, Id say that was done to you first, By the city council! WTH This travisty needs to be addressed and rectified immediatly, by council.
Howard B. Owens
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I spoke with Mr. Pullinzi about his comment and he understands. It contained one sentence that violated our standards.
Karen Miconi
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Good Howard. Mr. Pullinzi please Post Again, in detail, and defend yourself. The people need to send a message to council, and the manager, that we are sick of the inside favors, and unfair dealings coming from them.
Chelsea O'Brien
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How was this an "unfair" decision? The city has the right to not sell to anyone they consider "unfit" for any reason. They are able to act just as any other citizen when buying or selling property. The fact that they gave a reason is impressive, and that they were careful to not use the name during the meeting also shows discretion. What more do you want from them? They are attempting to improve Batavia, and it seems that people care more about calling names than improving where they live.
Chris Charvella
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Rich made a very interesting point above about the code enforcement job then and now...
Howard B. Owens
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Karen, see the post I just did based on Mr. Pullinzi's comment.
Karen Miconi
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Thanks Howard, for interviewing Mr. Pullinzi. It clears up alot of misconceptions. Unfortunately it doesn't make councils headhunting episode any better. They did Mr. Pullinzi Wrong. Will anything be done to rectify this, to be fair about this and balanced? Or is council and the city manager going to get out the broom again and sweep it under the already full rug?

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