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Latham motel owner to pay $1,000 fine for Colonie town code violations

WNYT Staff
Updated: October 17, 2019 07:09 PM
Created: October 17, 2019 12:52 PM

COLONIE – An extended-stay motel on Route 9 in Latham is the latest to face violations in the town. On Thursday, in front of Judge Norman Massry, Sycamore Motel owner Suman Patel pled guilty to 10 of 24 count violations. Each is $100 for a total of $1,000 fine.

Patel was charged with allowing the premises to be used as sub-standard long-term housing in violation of Chapter 119 of the Colonie town code, entitled "Occupancy."

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"Hopefully Mr. Patel will comply in the future, use this as a motel for transient purposes only and not as substandard housing in the town of Colonie," said Town Attorney Michael Maggiulli.

Colonie Police raided The Sycamore back in August. There, investigator Jeff Lockhart and his team found that more than 22 residents had lived at the premises in excess of the 28-day occupancy limit established by the Town Code.

“All the claims that were brought have been fully satisfied and we look forward to full cooperation and not being again here in the future," said Sal Ferlazzo, Patel’s attorney. Patel must pay the full fine by October 31.

All but one long-term resident is out. Peter and Ruth Calabria said Thursday they had been there since June. She was hit by a CDTA bus on June 24 and spent weeks in the hospital. On Wednesday, she was back in the emergency room after some sutures came loose, Peter said. We told him the Patel decision means he has to be out by Saturday.

"To be thrown out of here at this particular time and place, with her in the medical situation she's in," said Peter Calabria. "Even if I had four more weeks. Somebody said four more weeks, I'd say I'd be out no matter what and absolutely okay."

Peter said he's known Patel for 30 years and that's why they moved to his motel.

The investigation also showed that some residents have been living at the motel in excess of one year, and in at least three cases the residents had listed the motel's address as their primary residence on their New York state Driver's Licenses, Maggiulli said, adding the main purpose of the town code provisions is to insure residents living in Colonie have a safe and sanitary place to live.

The motel's records showed that the residents pay $50 per day, or approximately $1,500 dollars per month, for rent. No services are provided by the motel.

"For this amount of money, the town believes suitable housing can be found for the residents," said Maggiulli.

The town will work with the Red Cross and the Albany County to assist anyone displaced by enforcement of the town code.

In 2008, Colonie raided Karl’s Motel, also on Route 9 near Boght Corners. They removed six horses, two dogs, a cat and nine people from the 22 acres.

In 2014, the town took another owner to court. The Blue Bell and Skylane were eventually shut down and bulldozed on Central Avenue.

"This man has a big heart and his heart got him in trouble in terms of being nice to people and I've explained to him that he needs to follow the rules even if it does hurt people who have nowhere else to go," said Ferlazzo.

"This is a first of a series of cases that the town will be bringing to enforce our occupancy limits," Maggiulli said


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