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Price v. City of Troy New York

United States District Court, N.D. New York

June 26, 2014

MICHAEL PRICE, 24 ALBANY HOLDING LLC, & YOUTH EMPOWERMENT SERVICES OF NEW YORK, INC., Plaintiffs,
v.
CITY OF TROY NEW YORK; LOU ROSAMILIA, in his individual and official capacity as Mayor of City of Troy; WILLIAM CHAMBERLAIN, in his individual and official capacity as City of Troy Deputy Mayor; BILL FRENCH, in his individual and official capacity as City of Troy Code Enforcement Officer; DON ALDANO, in his individual and official capacity as City of Troy Code Enforcement Employee; MARK McGRATH, in his individual and official capacity as City of Troy Code Enforcement Officer; JOHN DOES #1; ISAAC BERTOS, in his individual and official capacity as City of Troy Police Officer; CHRISTOPHER JOHNSON, in his individual and official capacity as City of Troy Police Officer; BILL WADE, in his individual and official capacity as City of Troy Police Officer; SERGEANT FRENCH, in his individual and official capacity as City of Troy Police Officer; JOHN TEDESCO, in his individual and official capacity as City of Troy Police Officer; and JOHN DOES #2, Defendants.[1]

OFFICE OF VINCENT U. UBA Vincent U. Uba, Esq. Albany, New York, Attorney for Plaintiffs.

PATTISON, SAMPSON, GINSBERG & GRIFFIN, P.C. Donald J. Shanley, Esq., Troy, New York, Attorneys for Defendants.

CITY OF TROY CORPORATION COUNSEL Ian H. Silverman, Esq., Troy, New York, Attorneys for Defendants.

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

CHRISTIAN F. HUMMEL, Magistrate Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Presently before the Courts are the following motions: (1) defendants' motion pursuant to Rule 12(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for a more definitive statement of plaintiffs' claims (Dkt. No. 82); plaintiffs' motion to amend the complaint (Dkt. No. 96); and (3) defendants' cross motion, pursuant to Rule 7.1(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, seeking an Order joining plaintiffs' motion to amend with defendants' prior motion for a more definitive statement (Dkt. No. 97).

BACKGROUND[2]

In August 2010, plaintiff 24 Albany Holding LLC, through its Director and plaintiff, Michael Price (an African American citizen), purchased the property at 275 Fourth Street, Troy, New York from David Slattery (a Caucasian American). The property was purchased for the use and benefit of the plaintiff, Youth Empowerment Services of New York Inc. ("YES"), a not-for-profit corporation. The property is located in an R-4 Zone which, according to the City of Troy Zoning Law, is for "multi-family residential, restaurants and for other similar uses". Prior to plaintiffs purchasing the property, two families occupied the second and third floor of the building and a restaurant/bar was located on the first floor. The restaurant, 630 Paradise Pub, was owned and operated by James Skaggs. After purchasing the property, Price moved into the second floor and rented the third floor.[3]

In August 2010, plaintiffs attempted to use the first floor as a restaurant to raise funds for YES. Plaintiff was informed that a use and area variance was required. Plaintiff retained an architect and, on August 18, 2010, plaintiff submitted an Application for Permit and other documentation to the Department of Building and Codes. Plaintiff was informed by Don Aldano, a City of Troy Building and Codes employee, that William Chamberlain, the Deputy Mayor for the City of Troy, told Mr. Aldano that he should not process plaintiff's application.

Plaintiff alleges that on or around August 20, 2010, officers from the Troy Police Department, including Officers Bertros, Johnson, Wade, French and John Doe #2, invaded his home without a warrant and damaged his personal property. Plaintiff also alleges that the same officers invaded the third floor of the building and, "put a gun to the head of plaintiff's tenant and his wife ordering them and their family to immediately vacate the apartment". The building was then "shut down" and both plaintiff and his tenants were denied access.

In March 2011, Price was informed that his application was lost and therefore, he submitted a new application for a permit with a new set of plans. Plaintiff did not receive a response.

Plaintiffs allege that the Department of Building and Codes issued several "bogus violations" against plaintiff and his building in an attempt to harass plaintiff. Plaintiff alleges that Officers Bertros, Johnson, Wade, French and John Doe repeatedly harassed him in the following manner: (1) defendants seized over $9000.00 from his residence in August 2010; (2) defendants threatened plaintiff; (3) defendants arrested individuals hired to perform work at the premises on the basis of "trespassing"; (4) defendants disrupted plaintiff's son's birthday party with racial slurs; (5) defendants "ejected" plaintiff's African-American friends from his home and arrested his guests; (6) defendants published, to third parties, that a shooting occurred on plaintiff's property thereby preventing plaintiffs from renting property.

On January 18, 2012, City of Troy Mayor, Louis Rosamilia, issued an Order banning plaintiffs from the building for 45 days. Officer Wade and Troy Code Enforcement Officer Mark McGrath came to the property and denied plaintiff access. As a result of being denied access for an extended period of time, plaintiff alleges that he incurred costs to redo the home.

On March 28, 2012, during a hearing at Troy City Court, Mr. Welcome, of the Troy City Code Enforcement, stated that the Troy Police Department restricted plaintiffs' access. On April 28, 2012, defendants entered ...


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