Schenectady County took control of Michael Moratta's property on Route 5S in Pattersonville on Friday, May 25, because Moratta hadn't finished cleaning it by the deadline set by the Schenectady County legislature.
By Friday morning, about three-quarters of the property had been cleared of debris, but it was still not in compliance with county guidelines. Trucks along the front of the property were gone, but tires, a boat and other debris were still visible in the back.
Deputy County Attorney Donald DeAngelus was at the property Friday morning and said some of the junk may be behind the trees or out of sight.
DeAngelus said the county has hired R.K. Freedman and Son Inc., a scrap metal recycling firm out of Green Island, to clean up the remainder of the property. DeAngelus said the company estimated the cost of the project to be $5,200, which the county will try to recoup from Moratta.
County Attorney Christopher Gardner said under public health law the county is allowed to recoup the cost of the cleanup by issuing Marotta a bill. Gardner said Marotta would have six months to pay the bill, at which point the county would auction off his land for lease. Gardner said instead of land going to the highest bidder it would go to the person who would use it for the shortest amount of time.
On April 16, Moratta pleaded guilty to operating an illegal junkyard and state Supreme Court Justice Joseph Sise signed a default judgment mandating the immediate cleanup of the property.
On May 8, the county Legislature voted to authorize the county to clean up the property if it wasn't done by May 25. The legislation also set aside $50,000 for the cleanup.
R.K. Freedman and Son Inc. was scheduled to begin cleaning Tuesday, May 29.