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Landlord who was denied auction property defends his record

By Howard B. Owens

Michael Pullinzi says he has a record as a landlord that he will stack up against anybody.

He feels he was treated unfairly by the Batavia City Council on Monday when the council voted 5-4 to deny him a property at 9 Willow St. that he won in a city auction of delinquent tax properties.

"I challenge them to do a fair comparison of all landlords in the city on the same seven-year period, and I guarantee I will be near the bottom of that list," Pullinzi said in a comment left on the site. "I put over $100K into my properties last year alone and have several open contracts for windows, roofs, siding, carpet, already for this year. I have always been very cooperative with code personnel and all issues are resolved promptly."

Pullinzi's comment was removed because The Batavian has a policy of not editing comments, but there was one sentence that ran counter to site standards.

A copy of the memo given to council is thin on details, but lists reported violations that appear to have more to do with tenant conduct than landlord misconduct.

The list violations include failure to remove debris, yard waste and garbage. The memo also cites grass violations in "multiple" years at 4 Swan St.

Other reported violations include "paint" and "interior viol."  There was also reportedly an unlicensed auto reported at 44-46 Walnut St. in 2003.

"If they had bothered to contact me, I could have explained the most of the 13 code citations over seven years were tenants putting out an extra bag of trash," Pullinzi said. "Most issues in the notices were resolved before I even received the notice and I never had to received a secondary notice on any matter."

The memo states that all violations were corrected and that none of the property owners who bought property at the auction had any outstanding violations, nor had any of the property owners been billed for corrective actions taken by the city.

Among the violations Pullinzi said he received notice on was for a driveway that needed potholes fixed.

"The problem was that it was not my driveway and instead was a city alleyway along the side of my property," Pullinzi said. "To date, the city has not fixed the potholes they demanded I fix, and it has been years."

While the city memo doesn't specify police calls to properties owned by Pullinzi, he said any concern about such calls is misplaced.

"I rent to a lot of handicapped and special-needs tenants and the majority of the police contacts were for emergency medical care calls," Pullinzi said. "Others were for my finding a tenant in a diabetic coma about a year ago, and another contact was my finding the tenant deceased and contacting police. I guess (City Council President Marianne) Clattenburg and (Councilwoman Kathy) Briggs are saying no one should rent to ARC or special-needs individuals or those with medical concerns."

Pullinzi owns properties at 4 Swan, 44-46 Walnut St., 25 Fisher Park, 203 Ross St. and 511 Ellicott St.

Jim Burns

"I challenge them to do a fair comparison of all landlords in the City on the same seven year period, and I guarantee I will be near the bottom of that list"

Ummmm...... I think that is what they did and you where "near the bottom" that is why they did not sell the property to you.

Feb 11, 2010, 9:31am Permalink
Karen Miconi

In this corner, we have Rosemary, Frank, Sam, and Bob. In the other corner we have Maryanne, Jason, Bill, Tim, and Kathy. "Lets Get Ready To Rumble". Sorry I couldnt help myself. Unreal. Id put my money on Rosemary, and the crew any day of the week.

Feb 11, 2010, 5:47pm Permalink
Julie A Pappalardo

Well, I , for one would like to read Mr. Pullinzi's full post without CENSORSHIP.

I guess I won't be able to buy any City property because of getting written up by the "Grass Police" for the bar a bunch of times last year.

If anyone can remember:

We have been in a TERRIBLE recession for a few YEARS now. Personally, I was sitting on SO much empty property that I had no way of taking care of everything because there was NO MONEY COMING IN!!!!! When there IS money coming in, I take care of my stuff better than most!

Thankfully things have FINALLY started to improve, but I'm still bailing myself out from the hole I was in, as I am sure many other landlords are currently doing.

The City could have MADE $21,000. Instead they choose to get SUED, which will end up COSTING taxpayers $100,000.


Feb 11, 2010, 9:48am Permalink
Thomas Mooney

I agree with Julie on this one , the city will most likly be sued over this. Along with a possible law suit from someone tripping on that rug .

Some comments are saying that there was some sort of relationship between the council president and the second highest bidder . If this is true our city is doomed . If the statement by Mr. Pullinzi is true that he has spent over a 100,000 on his properties in the last year. Why then , are we targeting or making an example of him ? The public deserves a logical answer to this question .

Feb 11, 2010, 10:02am Permalink
Charlie Mallow

There is absolutely no way Marianne is in league with the second place bidder. We don’t even know if there is a second place bidder, I’m sure Marianne doesn’t either.

Remember Council never even used the bidders name in their discussion, the media did.

This is the kind of baseless accusation that drives elected people from participating in the conversations on this site.

Feb 11, 2010, 10:23am Permalink
Debbie Paine

"Among the violations Pullinzi said he received notice on was for a driveway that needed pot holes fixed.

"The problem was that it was not my driveway and instead was a City alley way along the side of my property," Pullinzi said. "To date, the City has not fixed the pot holes they demanded I fix, and it has been years"

One of the elements of humor is surprise, so I don't know why I laughed out loud at the ineptness (again) of government, as I was not surprised in the least.

Feb 11, 2010, 10:21am Permalink
Jim Burns


I think I have bumped in to you at O’Lacy’s and we have chatted a few times, so I want you to know I am saying this with respect and not the sarcastic irony of my post above.(being ranked near the bottom, I LOLed I know what he meant but he did not say it the right way)
Fist off I am not for the yard police nor am I for the city counsel saying who can and can’t buy property. However your comment that “When there IS money coming in, I take care of my stuff better than most!” bothered me. When you buy a property should be making a commitment to take care of it weather it earns you income or not. If it does not earn, sell it off. That is just good business. The economy went bad and by your statements you were not able to maintain the property as well. Sell it off. If you would lose money selling it because market dropped, that is just the name of the game with investments? Investing and business can be painful. Don’t get over leveraged so you can’t maintain the property.

As far as Mr “ranked near the bottom” blaming tenants for being sited, they are his tenants and he is responsible, he needs to police them.

Feb 11, 2010, 10:27am Permalink
Julie A Pappalardo

Sorry Jim,

Sell it off??? In the Great Recession? In Batavia, NY To WHO? You cannot sell something when there are no buyers AND the banks aren't lending any money.

And FYI, I am NOT leveraged! The TAXES, insurance, and cleaning up after the PIGS move out are what takes ALL your money here. I should have bought stock in the dumpster place a LONG time ago!

Lucky for me....I have GREAT tenants now:)

NOW, i get to redo a house I have had gutted for the past 2 years (again, people TRASHED IT, and recession = no $)

These things take time. it took a LONG time for Batavia to go downhill as it has....And it's going to take a long time to get it back up to par! Most of us landlords try VERY hard to maintain our stuff.

What Batavia NEEDS is to encourage people to BUY their OWN houses. Then MAYBE they will take a little bit of PRIDE in their neighborhoods!

Feb 11, 2010, 10:45am Permalink
Beth Kinsley

Charlie - I'm not sure what you meant by your statement:

"There is absolutely no way Marianne is in league with the second place bidder. We don’t even know if there is a second place bidder, I’m sure Marianne doesn’t either."

An earlier story stated:

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.

So there clearly was a second highest bidder and I'm quite sure the council members would have known who it was. That being said, I don't think anyone on Council is in in league with the second place bidder. I think they are just trying to set a precedent. It would have been a better business practice to not accept bids from anyone that they didn't intend to sell the property to rather that allow them to bid, win, and then pull the rug out from underneath them.

Feb 11, 2010, 10:54am Permalink
Jim Burns

I get what you are saying, I lost a business in this economy, I feel your pain.

When I first moved here I was amazed at the low real estate costs and I was planning on buying and renting a bunch of properties. Because of all the examples you just listed I decided not to do it. Owning rental property here does not seem like an attractive prospect.

I know nothing about your properties or how you maintain them, so my statements are not directed toward you. It is my fault for making them sound like that because I addressed the post to you.

The bottom line is, if you own property it needs to be maintained according to code at minimum. If you are not able to do this get out of the business.

Feb 11, 2010, 11:01am Permalink
Richard Gahagan

Inquiring minds want to know.

Who was the second highest bidder?

Does the second highest second highest bidder have a history of code violations?

Come on Howard do some dat reporter stuff get us "THE REST OF THE STORY".

Feb 11, 2010, 11:20am Permalink
John Roach

I was at the meeting. Council members had to ask what the next bid was, and did not ask who that bidder was.

As for being sued: Each bidder received a copy of the City Code, so each bidder knew this could happen.

What do you tell the court? "I knew it could happen to me, but didn't think it would"? That's a bit shaky as a legal case.

Feb 11, 2010, 11:51am Permalink
Deborah Pappalardo

Mr. Burns- You said: "The bottom line is, if you own property it needs to be maintained according to code at minimum. If you are not able to do this get out of the business."

Keep in mind that codes change. And, in Batavia they seem to change frequently. The codes were made stricter over the last several years. That, coupled with recession equals more money needing to be spent when there is less money coming in. When you start your business you have knowledge of what is expected of you and how much it will cost. You make your decision to get involved in that business accordingly. It's very frustrating having a set of rules at the start of your business and little by little the rules and change. And, when those rules are ones which cause you to have to spend more money...well, I think you can see where I'm going here.

Feb 11, 2010, 12:01pm Permalink
Jim Burns


Capitalism is risky by nature.
Buck up or get out of the business.
What is hard to understand about that?

The issue I have with rental property owners is their bad business hurts my home investment and community. Conversely good rental property owners help my home investment and community. So the city council, right or wrong, made an effort to promote better business .

Nuf said.

Feb 11, 2010, 12:19pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

FWIW: I'm pretty sure nobody on council knew who the second highest bidder was.

The $21,500 figure came from Jason asking Heidi what the second highest bid was and she didn't have paperwork in front of her to refer to. She said the believed it was $21,500 because bids were going at $500 increments at that point in the auction.

This information was not part of either the council material (most of which is also shared with the press) nor the subsequent memo, which only the council had during the meeting, but was distributed to local media yesterday.

Based on my own observations at this point, I find it highly doubtful that Marianne or any other council member had the name of the second bidder during the meeting.

Feb 11, 2010, 1:11pm Permalink
Beth Kinsley

Understood Howard. I don't think that, even if they did know who it was, this was the result of any sort of favoritism, backroom deals, etc.

Feb 11, 2010, 1:45pm Permalink
Thomas Mooney

Thats funny because it was said that they checked out all the bidders for violations . That would mean knowing who all bidders are .Why the cover up if everything was kosher

Feb 11, 2010, 2:14pm Permalink
Richard Gahagan

Somebody scream Shenanagans and In Cahoots With.

I call BS.

Somebody knows somebody that saw to it that it went to Habitat tit for tat tat.

Feb 11, 2010, 5:07pm Permalink
John Roach

That sounds stupid.

One of the Councilman, Sam Barone, is a member of the Habitat, working on all their projects, and he voted to sell the property.

Feb 11, 2010, 5:14pm Permalink
Deborah Pappalardo

Mr. Burns - You stated: "Capitalism is risky by nature. Buck up or get out of the business.
What is hard to understand about that? The issue I have with rental property owners is their bad business hurts my home investment and community. Conversely good rental property owners help my home investment and community. So the city council, right or wrong, made an effort to promote better business ."

Well, Mr. Burns. First: You don't need to tell me that capitalism is a risky business. Second: True. Some landlords neglect their property whether the economy is good, or bad. Julie and I never neglect our property but when times are bad we have to make cutbacks. Sometimes it can come down to "Do we cut the grass half as much or fix the roof that is leaking into our tenants living room." Even the most successful businesses in history have had to do the same. You don't throw your hands up and walk away at the first sign of a struggle. And, I refuse to be lumped into the same category as the well-known slumlords of Batavia. As Julie stated, we are near full capacity now with wonderful tenants and are finally able to finsih a gutted property after nearly 2 years. History has shown that things always turn back around. Having the city up our rear-ends for trivial matters when times are economically challenging doesn't help. I don't think that we should be penalized for past violations of the trivial sort when trying to build our business. What is so hard to understand about that? It boggles my mind that folks don't see where this kind of government control can lead. I really don't have anything more to say on the matter. But, ask yourself, at what point will you think that your civil rights and liberties are threatened, Mr. Burns?

Feb 11, 2010, 5:23pm Permalink
Richard Gahagan

Well there ya go then he did that(voted no) so that there would appear to be no inpropriety so the city wouldn't loose the law suit for being in cahoots, i tell ya cahoots. That's the cover up right there. The Willow Street Conspiracy is slowly unfolding.

Feb 11, 2010, 5:30pm Permalink
Debbie Paine

Jim is correct that capitalism is risky business. However it's made riskier by capricious and ill-conceived interference by government at all levels.

By the way, would the city please cite itself for the unattractive white stains under all the windows at the City Centre?

Feb 11, 2010, 6:13pm Permalink
Lorie Cook

LOL, maybe I am crazy but I actually think Richard is poking fun at it being a conspiracy.

I could not agree with Jim more. Any time you invest in anything it is a big risk. Hey, my bank gave me 8% interest once upon a time ago. Now I get nothing. Why the nerve!!! How dare they change that?

I definitely feel for Julie and Deborah. Unfortunately, the people in the world who over extend themselves and then expect a bail out tend to grate on the nerves of others. So how to you feel about all the people and their mortgage bailouts. Yes, the banks did the wrong thing but how about having a brain and common sense and realizing that at some point this will catch up with you?

Maybe my values are crazy but I believe in having a nest egg for the bad times...and pray that it will get me through. Then again I would never be a landlord because I know that kind of nonsense they have to deal with.

Mike, I am sorry this had been such a fiasco for you.

Feb 11, 2010, 6:22pm Permalink
Mark Potwora

By this now being a Habitat home is this another tax exempt property...Sounds like the city lost us some more tax dollars...Just like they did with the property they sold a couple of weeks ago at 600 dollars less than what was first offered....There should be an appeals process before they go to the second bidder.....Michael Pullinzi should be able to defend himself first.....Does the city have some kind of list that has Landlords names on it who are allowed to bid and not bid of foreclosed property..Or does it just depend on what kind of mood council is in that night...Michael Pullinzi was going to buy and repair and increase the value of the property and therefore the city would have gotten more taxes out of it..Now that Habitat has it no taxes are being paid on it...One other thing,The house was assessed at 54,000 but only sells for 22,000..Sound like these people were being over assessed in the first place..And maybe that is why they couldn't pay the tax on the property..Sound like they should have some recourse,by the city over charging them..They keep raising the tax rates in this city and over assessing property,I'm sure there will be more of these auctions ...So let us all know the names of those who can and can't buy them....

Feb 11, 2010, 8:11pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Mark, where do you get that Habitat will acquire the house?

Also, isn't the mission of Habitat to refurbish houses and "sell" them to people who need the extra help? So the house would be back on the tax rolls, and an increased value, once Habitat was done with it.

But again, where do you get that Habitat is acquiring the house?

Feb 11, 2010, 8:56pm Permalink
Michael Pullinzi

Umm... Jim no they did not. Being at the bottom of the list of code notices would be a good thing Jim. Do you get it? They only pulled my listings and they never bothered to check on what the notices were about. Several were mistakenly not even for my properties yet they are still counting those against me in that 13 number. No other City landlord was a successful bidder. They could easily pull all the code info for all landlords and when compared to all landlords for seven years I will guarantee that I will be near the bottom of that list with many other landlords having hundreds of code notices over seven years for 10 rental units and not only 13 like I have. Do you understand now? Being on the bottom would be good and being high on the list with many code notices would be bad. If you have me with 13 and others with hundreds, then how does that make me a bad landlord? This whole thing was a farse and slanderous.

Feb 11, 2010, 9:28pm Permalink
Michael Pullinzi

John: You are a freind of mine, but you are flatly wrong on that. No one was given any code list as you say that was a bidder in the auction. There are no codes for auctions. There also was no indication that bidders would have their histories pulled. The fact is that this history pulling was a clear abuse of Council in this matter and was marked confidential as no one is supposed to have the information. As a landlord I can not even obtain Police reports on my own tenants due to strict confidentiality laws on this. Moreover these records were misleading use against me as most are for emergency medical care that some of the tenants required and not crime issues. The only information that Council had was a total number of Police contacts and not the reason for the contacts, yet they assumed they were criminal matters. They also went back seven years and Police themselves can only go back 18 months. I have never been contacted by Police regarding any crime matters on any of my properties EVER in 20 years of being a landlord. The problem with this whole thing is it smacks of NAZI Germany. Information was used to mislead. The information was not complete, and I never had a chance to explain yet HUGE decisions were made to assasinate my character. YOU know me yourself, and know full well that I AM NOT as portrayed and not deserving of such restriction in buying this property. It is slanderous and a farce. This is all going to go much much further and I would really prefer that Council just acknowlege that they made a mistake and act now to correct the damage they have done to me in the community. It is not deserved.

Feb 11, 2010, 9:43pm Permalink
Beth Kinsley

Howard - it was reported on another news site that Habitat for Humanity is the second highest bidder. You're right though, once the houses are refurbished, title would pass to the new owner and it would be taxable property.

Feb 11, 2010, 9:51pm Permalink
Michael Pullinzi

All of Council knew that Habitat was also a bidder on the Willow Street property. Councilman Barone was with the Habitat bidders at the auction. Councilman Barone and his wife are on the Habitat Board. Councilman Barone did vote to sell the property to me. I do not know him well enough to judge on whether he did this because of his true support of me or knowing that the "gang of five" already had their votes lined up, but I am told he is an honorable man. To me, there does seem ample evidence however to be a definate conflict on Habitat's bid if a Councilman is involved on their board especially with such a questionable action going on in this whole matter. If they had been the highest bid then there would be no question, but they were not and Councilman Barone does state in Council minutes noting that Habitate could not compete due to not having the funds. They did not pull histories on current owners of Habitat houses that have been rehabed and sold in the past and I certainly think this should occur if they are awarded the bid. It would be comparable to pulling the histories of my tenants. Should they not be held liable for who they are selling to as I am being held responsible for my tenants? What if we find long Police contacts at the houses after they are sold or find that they homes are in disrepair? This vote against me was not a spontanious decision done at the Council meeting. Councilwoman Briggs was instructed at the opening of the meeting to read the amendment that was handed to her by Councilwomen Clattenburg, Council was given misleading records prior to this meeting by Councilwoman Clattenburg, and it had been discussed what they planned to do, so it is clear that it was all set up prior to the Council meeting.

Feb 20, 2010, 1:21pm Permalink
Mark Potwora

Howard can't believe you of all people didn't know that...This could be off the tax rolls for a year while they go thru the process of rehabing it and finding a homeowner..So right there is a year of no taxes...Plus the fact the the bid is less by 500 dollars...Michael Pullinzi makes some very good points about this...He should have a chance to be heard in front of council before they go handing it to the next bidder..Hes states,Councilman Barone does state in Council minutes noting that Habitat could not compete due to not having the funds.So what now the city waits until they get the funds, more time wasted off property tax rolls...His point about looking into the background of the people that Habit might sell to is valid...The city council opened up this can of worms and now they will have to answer alot of questions..Sounds like Legal issues..
What gets me was the assessment of 55,000 dollars on something worth 22,000 dollars..Maybe if the property was assessed right the people who owned the house might of been able to pay their taxes...I believe alot of property in Batavia is over assessed..Two house on my street just sold for way less then what they were assessed at...Council should look into that... But at least now you know who the second bidder was Howard.....

Feb 11, 2010, 10:45pm Permalink
Michael Pullinzi

Mark: Just to clarify. I beleive Habitat has the funds for what they bid, but didn't have the fund to out bid me. Now, that is not an issue because I was eliminated.
On the assessment of the home it was fairly assessed, but it has been closed for a couple years and has fallen into disrepair with a roof that needs definate replacement and they don't reduce the assessement for a bad roof, but a bidder will realize that as a big cost and take that into consideration. Additionally, the home has a very old furnance and the kitchen has been completely removed, along with other rehab that was started and not completed. Since it was closed the plumbing is also likely all bad due to freezing and breakage etc. All these reduce what someone would bid, but would not have reduced an assessment of an owner occupant at the time it was occupied. On the tax issue of Habitat, I would have to pay taxes immediately, Habitat would not be paying taxes while they rehabed or until a new owner took ownership. That could easily take two years or more to rehab and be able to sell. If you look around many houses go unsold for years in the City. That all adds up quick for taxpayers and is far more money than the City lost in not accepting the one offered price for a piece of City land that later sold for a lower price in the open auction. The City did the right thing there as they tried to be fair to all and sell it at auction rather than a closed insider sale. Concerns for open government far outweigh the small amount of money that was lost in that case. In my case, they held an open auction, but then made an after the fact change in conditions that were based on misleading information that should not have eliminated me.

Feb 11, 2010, 11:16pm Permalink
John Roach

Do bidders get a copy of the code that tells them the rules on bidding and that council has the final say on the sale? That's what I was referring to.

They also would have no reason to pull records for any house sold by Habitat. This whole thing only has to do with CITY property being sold, not property sold in the past by a private group or owner to any other group or person.

When this happened to Dr. Chess almost nobody said anything. Of course, he was an out of town guy,

And for more than 4 years, very few people cared that the reforms to the city law that would have prevented this were held up Councilman Ferrando and others.

Mike, sorry this started with you, but now you know why some of us have been complaining for years trying to get people to pay attention.

One more note. You made reference to the sale of vacant, landlocked land, to the railroad. Nobody had ever wanted that land, it was surrounded by other railroad property. The railroad offered $1,600 for it. That was made public and was in the paper, so it was not an "insider" sale. Bob Bialkowski and others rejected the offer and put it up for bid. As predicted, the railroad was the only bidder, but then offered less money. We not only lost $600 on the sale, but had legal cost added to the loss.

Then Bob and Sam voted to reject that sale also. If they had won that vote, the same property would have gone to bid again, and the railroad would have either bid an even lower price or dropped the whole thing, leaving the property off the tax rolls forever. Now I know they voted against this sale only because they were angry with the rejection of the sale of property to you, but it was childish.

Feb 12, 2010, 7:04am Permalink
Michael Pullinzi

Wrong again John. When a private group comes to City Council and makes an offer on a property without public notice of that property being offered for sale, that is a "insider" sale. No one else would of had a shot at it under that circumstance and there was a possiblity that others might have paid a great deal more. The right thing to do was offer it in the auction. It's called open government and well worth the cost to be fair to all. You are trying to make political hay out of a small amount of money yet don't seem to care about the thousands of dollars the City is throwing away on the Willow Street issue. Glad you are willing to make the "example" out of me when it is not deserved and don't seem to care about that either. There are a lot of underlying motives in all of this that will come out.

Feb 12, 2010, 8:08am Permalink
Richard Gahagan

Busted down on old Willow Street
Set up, like a bowling pin.
Knocked down, it gets to wearin' thin.
When the city just wont let you be he heeee

Feb 12, 2010, 10:00am Permalink
Karen Miconi

Your right Mike, its like insider trading, and might I add isnt allowed on Wallstreet, and is illegal if Im not mistaken. You need to get a good lawyer. Go See Benny!!
They know what they pulled was wrong, and they need to own up to it. I am interested in why Maryanne is alleged, to be doing her neighborhood committee business, on the city's clock. Could it be the same ones that think they run this town, and stick their noses so far in the air at others, that they would drown if it rains. The ones who dont like renters, and some landlords are beneath them??
You see the people have had enough, of the favors to friends, hidden agendas, and smoke and mirrors, and city officials, that think they are above the law. Who handed Maryanne the mysterious envolope? When was this "Secret Meeting" that determined your fate Mike? You cant use your position, to do favors for your friends, and X-Out those you dont care for. Batavia, is the laughing stock of a certain radio station in Rochester too.

Feb 12, 2010, 1:16pm Permalink
Michael Pullinzi

In the whirlwind of things I also totally forgot about these 3 notices that are also not mine. On the Swan Street grass notices, in addition to that driveway with the pot holes not being mine and being a City Street/Alleyway, I also received those grass notices for a piece of property that it not mine. My #4 Swan Street property sits on a postage stamp lot which means it has no yard. The only grass is the small narrow strip of City greenway between the curb and the sidewalk. I am responsible for maintaining that, but the piece I get notices on is for a small 3' x 3' piece next to the back porch stairs along the alleyway/street. It regularly gets 2-3' high in the summer, but it is not mine. I have mowed it many times just to avoid getting the notices, and I have called the City to make them aware that it is not my property, but I continue to get notices for something that is not mine. That in fact then brings my total notices for 10 untis over seven years down to only 9.

Feb 12, 2010, 10:40am Permalink
John Roach

Didn't the railroad approach the city first?

And the idea that somebody else would have paid more was never going to happen, as proved by the final bid.

But, I have no problem with that property being bid on at auction. That's council's option. I knew what would happen and I was right. It's just a shame the only group that wanted it ended up still getting for it but now for $600 + legal fees, less than they originally offered.

What about that code question I asked. Did you and the others get a copy of the rules? The City Attorney Monday night said every bidder did and nobody said he was wrong.

And Mike, you know I already told you I wish this did not happen to you. I said this on this site and in an email to you.

This could all have been prevented years ago, but nobody cared until now.

As for Marianne, I don't think she is still on the NIC. But since she, like Bob Bialkowski and all council members, are paid a flat rate for being on Council, I don't care when any of them do any of their work. They get no overtime and no benefits.

When is any council member, her or Bob, "on the city clock"? Answer: 24/7

I understand why you're angry, but what "hidden agenda". Who got a favor out of this? Give names and how. And now, calling people snooty? Stay to the facts, that's what you do best.

Feb 12, 2010, 10:46am Permalink
Richard Gahagan

Stop defending council its obivous to everyone they predetermined that this dumpy old house should become a HFH home and then they drummed up excuses to disqualify the winning bidder. When the shenanigans are over and its all said and done, its still just going to be another dumpy old house in Batavia no matter who owns it. But maybe the simple fact that they were able to rig a 20k dumpy old house auction will make the egotistical people involved feel more important in their own minds.

Feb 12, 2010, 11:01am Permalink
Thomas Mooney

I understand that Habitat buys property ,fixes them up, and then sells them to qulified applicants. My question is , out of all of the properties that Habitat has bought and sold in the city , How many have been in violation after they have been sold off ? And why the council didn't look into it ? The City has no clue who will be living and owning the property on Willow st ., because now it is up to Habitat to find an owner that in return could trash the place and bring it right back to the auction . The safer bet would have been , get as much money as you can for the place from a decent landlord . In this case it would have been Mr. Pullinzi . The city dropped the ball once again .

John , you are very passionate about defending the city council . I ask why , and how do you justify defending every thing they do , are the public not able to ask questions without you jumping down our throat with counter smoke screens . How about you just listen sometimes and open your mind up to the public's concerns , digest it a little bit before jumping on the site to put your rebuttle in .

Feb 12, 2010, 11:05am Permalink
John Roach

I don't back council all the time, but I do insist on fact, not fuzzy accusations.

Fact: Councilman Frank Ferrando was able to have "tabled" the proposed law that might have prevented this, for 4 years, but nobody on this site said anything about it. I went time after time to Council asking this be fixed, but Frank had the votes to keep it from coming up. Now he doesn't have the votes and we are now waiting for the NIC to come up with the new recommendations.

Fact: I spoke out against council when they did this before, 3 times to the same guy, and with no cause other than then did not want him to expand his business in the Mall. But he was an out of town guy and so nobody cared.
By the way, where where you?

Tom, if you give facts, or list opinions as opinions, I will listen. I just don't like opinions given as facts or conspiracy theory put out as fact.

Feb 12, 2010, 11:29am Permalink
Michael Pullinzi

Councilman Barone's wife is an employee of Habitat. She is listed as "staff office manager" on their web site. There is only the Genesee County Habitat and no City of Batavia Habitat. That fact is enough conflict that Habitat has a huge cloud in this matter. If they had been the high bidder there would be no such issue. I know for a fact that there are Habitat homes that are currently in ruin on the inside and with leaking roof etc. and the owners are the last type of people you would want next to you with piles of garbage outside etc. One such house is down the road from me on Dodgeson Road. The town of Batavia has cited this home. NOT ALL Habitat homes end up like this, but some are. I am sure it is a fine program with good intentions and a lot of good people that work hard at it (Just like I and my family do on my properties), but like with all things it doesn't always work out that way just like when you rent to someone AND Habitat should be held responsible for that as much as any landlord is. I want to make very clear that I am NOT jumping on the Habitat conspiracy thing regarding this. I really do not care about loosing that property. It was going to cost me a lot of money and be a lot of work. I was just planning to rehab that home, try and make some money developing it into a much better property, and this is what I got in return. I was going to fix it up and resell it just like Habitat, but I would of paid thousands in property taxes where Habitat will pay none and that is a loss of thousands for taxpayers. They pay no property taxes and no capital gain tax like I would have had to do. I now simply want my name cleared in all this and the only way for that to happen is for Council to acknowledge they jumped the gun and even had good intent, but that they were wrong in making me the example in this case. I would be happy with that. I could have 100 articles with my rebuttal and it would not undo the damage they have done to my name with all of this. Only those that caused it can undo it. Council can undo it, but instead they contine and say they were right when they were clearly wrong.

Feb 12, 2010, 11:35am Permalink
Rich Martin

After reading all the comments and controversy that the council generates on this and other faux pas',I can't help but wonder how a group of seemingly inteligent people can consistantly make blatent dumb-assed decissions and expect thier constituents to sit by and accept them without question. Did anyone on council stop to think of the ramifications of your actions? Did the thought occur to any of you to table your action until all the facts could be checked? No you did not. Why do think now people think that this was a put up job? You people have seen this happen time after time after time with your decision making. For cring out loud..even a toddle knows not to touch the hot stove twice!
To sit there as head of the council and state that they are going to make an example out of Mr Pullinzi is just plain WRONG and an insult to both him and the position of which you and all the council members hold.If anyone reading this doesn't think that this is/was the case then there is a seat on council waiting for you.

Feb 12, 2010, 11:59am Permalink
Chris Charvella

Anyone who has ever met Sam Barone or talked with him for more than a few minutes would tell you right away that he is absolutely incapable of taking part in the kind of conspiracy some folks here are talking about.

Mr. Pullinzi got shafted by a City Council whose leadership seems to have a 'shoot from the hip' stance on making (or enforcing)new policy. His name has been dragged through the mud and now he has to spend his days explaining himself when he should be busy spending money on improving a new property.

After reading all of the accounts of what happened over the last few days, it looks like the Council President took it upon herself to push this issue. Instead of notifying the bidders that Council intended to exercise it's denial option, she waited until the bids were up for approval and ended up embarrassing a local man unnecessarily.

If Council wants to enforce these rules then I have no problem with it; it's their prerogative and their right. I only take issue with how they chose to implement their new iron fist property sale policy and even more so, how they (intentionally or not) made an example of a man who, by all accounts, is doing a pretty decent job at taking care of his properties.

Feb 12, 2010, 12:48pm Permalink
terry paine

After reading over 40 posts on this subject one thing stands out in all of them. We've read that between the two landlords posting here, 25% of the citations they received were false, and that council accepted that false information in discriminating against a seemingly decent landlord. Of course, neither of these groups of people are ever held accountable for their failure to do their job properly. If I were to do my private sector job correctly only 75% of the time, I would no longer have it, but city (and all other level) bureaucrats are not held to the same standard. Is anyone being held accountable for the failure to repair the city property pot holes that they demanded Mike Pullinzi repair when they erroneously cited him?? Government is so basically flawed in this regard as to warrant no respect or believability,

Feb 12, 2010, 1:07pm Permalink
Jim Burns


I walked by your place on Ross street yesterday. Looked fine to me, not like the rental slums next to me on East Ave. I think the Council decided to send a message and you got caught in it.
I understood what you meant by bottom of the list, but I still thought it sounded funny like "I graduated a t the bottom of my class!" in my opinion, not that you should care, perhaps saying you had less infractions would have been better.

Call me Jim.
I’m not attacking you. I’m surprised, as a property owner you do not see the value in maintaining the exterior when it is empty as not to lower your properly value (protect your investment) and entice someone to rent your residential or commercial property. I was looking for commercial property this summer and I drove right past the many locations that were not maintained. I don’t want my customers coming to a poorly maintained business, it reflects poorly on me.
My point is that a responsible property owner in a community maintains that property to the local codes.
I hear what you are saying about money being tight but I still need to pay my taxes, credit card, mortgages and car payments when I have no income.

Feb 12, 2010, 1:20pm Permalink
John Roach

Now you have a good point.
If the city cites somebody and it turns out the city got it wrong, there should be a written follow up to state the error was made. And the violation should be expunged from the public record. The city should reimburse the owner for a reasonable amount of expense to have it cleared up.

And if the same employee makes the same errors in his/her job, there should be a record kept in that persons file, with a written standard someplace that says after so many errors, you're fired.

On the other hand, if the property owner challenges the finding saying it's false or the wrong property, and is found to really be a fault, they should have to pay the extra cost to the city.

Feb 12, 2010, 1:25pm Permalink
Michael Pullinzi

Jim, actually that is what I had said as my noting I would be at the bottom of the list was a list of number of code citations. That part was left off when Howard did his article and I understand and appreciate the semantics of it. So just to clarify for all, I am saying that any fair comparison of citations on landlords throughout the City would show me to have a very low numbers of citations compared to others and not deserving of this attack by Clattenberg and Briggs.

On another note, In going through my property records, I have come up with one more errored citation on that same Swan Street property. I was cited for a need to paint and the house is asphalt siding. (hopefully to be vinyl sided this year) The City had mistakenly thought the small garage aside my one car driveway there belonged to me. It doesn't, and is part of the property on the corner of Main and Swan. I notified the City of their error on that too and they did then notify the proper owner who took care of it BUT, again that counted against me in this noted 13 citations by Clattenberg and Briggs. That now brings me to a total of 8 actual citations for 10 units in 7 years.

Feb 12, 2010, 2:11pm Permalink
bud prevost

I'm curious, were the other winning bidders subjected to the same scrutiny? Are these violations a matter of public record? Is there any sort of precedent in Batavia's torrid past?
I will say, for such a small town, Batavia has it's fair share of high drama.

Feb 12, 2010, 2:36pm Permalink
John Roach

I hope there is a city procedure to expunge the errors. This will also put others on notice to demand expungements, if justified, and get them in writing.

Since some Council members say they had no idea this information had been requested, I looked at the minutes of the meeting prior to when the vote was taken. The request for this information was made by Councilwoman Clattenburg, with no objections from any of the 7 other members present. So this was no last minute thing and Bob was there at that meeting.

But get the expungements.

Feb 12, 2010, 2:40pm Permalink
John Roach

Do you know anything about the rumor that council members are having their property FOIL'd for code violations?

That's just the "word on the street".

Feb 12, 2010, 3:10pm Permalink
Richard Gahagan

Council is in violation. They violated a private business man and are attempting to prevent him from expanding his enterprise through the purchase of any additional property in the city. This is as anti local business as it comes, small time local goverment officals attempting to control private business by limiting how much property an individual landlord can own. Howard as a major proponent for small, local, home town, private business ownership you should be ripping council to shreds.

Feb 12, 2010, 4:04pm Permalink
Michael Pullinzi

I don't like to keep correcting you John, but you are wrong again. Per the minutes of the meeting, Clattenberg only requested information on back taxes and open code violations. I have none of either of these. Instead of this information, the City Administrator provided a seven year history of code citations and Police records that I can not even get as the property owner. Council is supposed to all agree by majority on such requests of information and that was not done. There was no vote for it. Frankly, the City Administrator acted improperly here too. I might even understand all this if I had 13 "open" code matters, but these were just 13 (really just 8) code citations in a seven year period for 10 rental units. And all were for minor items. Again, I did not deserved to be put through all this like they have done to my name in the community and this was all very unfair to me especially since my record is quite clear.

Feb 12, 2010, 4:12pm Permalink
John Roach

I, like you, don't mind being corrected. Good point on what was requested. Maybe you can learn why Jason would have gone back 7 years.

However, any council person can ask for information from the Manager at a meeting and it does not have to be voted on. But every member has to receive a copy of that information.

And, again, I never said you deserved this.

Good luck on this, I'm going camping.

Feb 12, 2010, 4:29pm Permalink
Michael Pullinzi

Bud, all the winning bidders were checked after the fact, BUT there were no other winning bidders that are landlords in the City and NO ONE was told that such a search and public attack would occur or be a possibility. (No one was checked prior to bidding or told such a search would be done) Several landlords were bidders and I am quite sure they will never particpate in such auctions again as no one would withstand such a search etc. especially if they are going to publicly twist it all to attack them. (again that is going to cost the City taxpayes thousands in resulting lower bids as they are going to remove most of the people that want to rehab property) It worked against me that none of the other successful bidders were landlords as if there had been some it would have been more apparent to those Council members that my noted 13 (8) citations in seven years are very low in comparison and not deseving of this attack. Clattenberg and Brigss are just frustrated due to thier own ineffectiveness at resolving issues in their own neighborhoods and I understand that, but what they did to me will not resolve their issues and was undeserved by me.

Feb 13, 2010, 8:34am Permalink
Michael Pullinzi

Howard: Just wanted to thank you again for facilitating getting both sides out in this matter. Your site and the Daily News both did a great job. There is no way to undo the damage City Council members have done to my name in this matter, but it has helped to have your presenting both sides. Again, a sincere thank you from me and my family. It is VERY important that fair and accurate journalism exists in our community and you deserve praise and support for your efforts.

Mike Pullinzi

Feb 14, 2010, 3:29pm Permalink

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