The City of Troy, New York, "Where Henry Hudson Turned Around."

Monday, March 21, 2005


In 1992 the then owners of 193 Second Street proposed to convert that location (the former Italian Community Center) into a three dwelling unit. The plan was submitted to the Troy Planning Commission and approved, subject to the issuance of a Bureau of Code Enforcement Permit. According to the work permit issued, the premises was listed as vacant. However, no work was done and the permit expired six months later.

Councilwoman Messick and her alleged fiance purchased 191 Second Street in 1992. Then, in 1995, they purchased 193 Second Street. Messick claims that the previous owners (of 193) were residing there at the time Messick moved into 191 (1992).

However, the former owners claim that no one ever resided at 193 while they owned the building. When it was purchased by the former owners, the building was partially gutted, without plumbing, heating and electricity. The only access to the second floor was by way of a ladder. The building, according to the former owners, was in the same condition when sold to Messick.

Messick received numerous Notice of Violation letters from the City of Troy Bureau of Code Enforcement (or Boce). Some of these may have been sent to her prior to the purchase of 193 Second Street. The date Messick purchased 193 seems to be in dispute.

However, Messick did own 193 Second Street in March of 1998. On the 18 of March, 193 Second Street was inspected by Code Enforcement. On the 19th, Principal Code Inspector Terry DuBois informed Ms. Messick that she had failed to obtain the required work permit prior to construction, alteration, demolition of change of use. She was ordered to "STOP ANY WORK in progress..." Thankfully, no one was hurt during the walkthrough.

Ms. Messick must have ignored the Notice because eight days later a similar letter was sent to her by Mr. DuBois.

Ms. Messick wrote to Mr. DuBois on April 2, 1998:

I am writing in regards to the letters you sent us concerning 191 and 193 Second Street Troy NY. We purchased 191 Second St. in late 1992 and obtained a mortgage at that time and it became our personal residence. We did not purchase 193 Second St. until aprox. 1995, 3 years later, from the Woods our next door neighbors and we got a mortgage at that time. I don't know ho they got it from or how long they had it but they were living there when we moved in to 191 Second. We purchased 191 from a company comprised of several doctors and I don't know how long they owned it.*

What's wrong with this response to alleged code violations? Apart from run-on sentences, it fails to address the issue of obtaining a work permit. Was a work permit ever obtained? Also, the renovations seemed to take a long time. Did Ms. Messick consider retaining a new contractor?

As of March 2, 2004, a work permit and a Certificate of Occupancy had not been obtained by Ms. Messick or the alleged fiance. Terry DuBois once again contacted Ms. Messick. Another inspection was done and several issues were raised.

191 Second Street needed smoke detectors in a variety of rooms. As for 193, numerous issued were raised, some fire-safety related. Once more, Messick was told to purchase the appropriate work permits.

Now Deputy Dan (Crawley) seems very concerned about fires. For Deputy Dan, Mr. Cox's property was a potential fire hazard as was Perlman's Auto Service (See The Record, March 4, 2004 'Business Owner, Action Team at odds' by Kate Perry).

The good people of Troy should have answers to the following questions:

1. Did Ms. Messick purchase the appropriate work permits;

2. If not, has she been fined or 'locked out' of the building;

3. If not, why not;

4. Does it have anything to do with the fact she is a Republican City Council member;

6. If Cox or the owner of Perlman's had been Republican City Council members, would they have been shut down.

7. What is the name of the contractor (he seems to take his sweet time and we wouldn't want others to hire him).

Maybe Ms. Messick has complied. Let us know. We'll certainly update this story. However, if she hasn't, and 191-193 Second Street is fire hazard, perhaps the Action Team needs to be put on high alert and dispatched to the hazard.

Ms. Messick should feel free to respond. We'll print the response in full (except for the profanity).

As an aside, I think the City of Troy would be well served if a SWAT-like vehicle was purchased for the Action Team. Images of Mr. Mirch and Mr. Crawley propelling down from the roof of 191 Second Street, crashing through windows, simply dance through my head.

Remember, this issue was alive and well when Ms. Messick ran for City Council. How can one make the laws and ordinances of the city when they can't follow them. It didn't seem to bother anyone at the time. Messick ran and won. Maybe there are two tiers of justice in this area, one for public "servants" and one for the rest of you.

Artist's rendering of Troy Action Team entering
191-193 Second Street

* Copies of documents courtesy of a friend at City Hall who wishes to remain anonymous

No comments: