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King Street demolition in Troy on hold by state officials

Created: 08/14/2013 5:46 PM WNYT.com
By: Dan Bazile

TROY -- The four historic buildings on King Street near Bomber's Burrito in Troy are gone. But the controversy over asbestos remains along with the excavator that tore down the structures. On it, a notice from the State Labor Department that says warning, asbestos project suspended. The work was stopped on Friday because the Asbestos Control Bureau is inspecting that location, according to the State Labor Department.

"My concern was how could they tear this building down with people eating at a restaurant with a building attached," said Troy Council Member Mark McGrath.

McGrath is one of only two Republicans on the council. He said he filed a complaint with the labor department about how the demolition job was handled. He said the city's planning commissioner, Bill Dunn expressed his concerns long ago about the presence of asbestos in the buildings.

"He didn't say there was a little asbestos. He said it's filled, it's full of asbestos," McGrath said.

Fire chief Tom Garrett who declined comment for this report, said on Tuesday last week the buildings were unsafe and his inspection team discovered things had gotten worse and ordered to tear them down immediately.

But now it's turning into a he said, she said situation. The company that did the work, M. Cristo, Inc.out of East Greenbush, said they did the work under the direction of the fire chief. However, the mayor's office in Troy said M. Cristo had a private arrangement with the building's owner, well know local attorney Don Boyajian.

"According to fire chief Tom Garrett, Cristo was hired directly by the property owner to complete the work once it was deemed an emergency demolition. There is no existing contract between the city and Cristo for any portion of the work," said Jessica Sibley,
deputy director of public information for the city of Troy.

The labor department's notice is directed at both the city and M. Cristo, Inc.

"The bottom line is somebody knowingly released toxic asbestos into the air. We have a daycare right down here for Unity House," McGrath said.

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