The court awarded the owner of Skyland and Blu-Bell motels another three weeks to gather paperwork and finances despite protest from the Town of Colonie who had agreed to a similar adjournment six weeks ago.
Last Thursday, Feb. 26, was originally intended to be Alex Patel’s deadline before a court would decide if his case would either appear before a trial or if a settlement could be made.
According to town attorney Michael Maggiulli, Patel and his lawyers had not properly discussed the fates of the two motels, which the town condemned for poor living conditions
“We objected to any further adjournments in the case and requested that they make a commitment today to demolish the Skylane and the Blu-Bell motels, and that if they did make that commitment, we would abide by the former plea bargain and would work with them, in any legal way possible, to expedite the demolition permit process and to assist them in taking the buildings down. They would not commit today,” said Maggiulli.
Maggiulli said that he was told Patel had been in India visiting family for some time during the six-week adjournment in January and much of February.
The attorney also said if the defending side does not come back with a comprehensive and workable business plan at the end of these three weeks, the town is fully prepared to go to trial.
“We, on the record, stated to the court today that the people are ready for trial. As far as we’re concerned, we can try the case starting tomorrow,” said Maggiulli.
The town would try Patel “on all charges pending” and on all counts, according to Maggiulli. Patel faces over 700 violations between the Skylane and Blu-Bell. The motels were found to be in unsafe conditions, including oozing wall outlets and mold on the ceilings, early last year after a resident fell through the floor of the Skylane.
In these three weeks, Patel will work with his bank to create an acceptable business plan, which will then be shown to the town before the next court appearance on Thursday, March 19. Town supervisor Paula Mahan said the town understood Patel and his lawyers were trying to figure out a plan for the property within the zoning laws, but those were “two separate issues.”
“I think on our part, we’ve been very fair. There’s been no question in my mind about that. I was hoping that they would be more prepared today and they weren’t. But the fact is… our goal is both of those motels need to come down. We are not going to budge on that. We are prepared to go to trial and we were very clear on that in court today,” said Mahan.
The town would not consider any proposal by Patel’s side that left either motel stay standing, according to Maggiulli and Mahan. Patel’s lawyers said he requested an apartment house and manager’s residence on the Skylane property, separate from the motel, not be demolished. Maggiulli said the town would not object to that.
The town is also prepared to offer Patel its original plea bargain. In exchange for Patel demolishing both motels, the town would excuse the over $750,000 in fines for the violations. However, this deal is contingent on any decisions made within the next three weeks.
“At the end of the three weeks, as Mr. Maggiulli stated, all plea bargaining is off the table. We’re prepared to go to trial, and we will. So we’ll see what happens in three weeks. But on our end, we’re not looking at anything other than those two motels coming down,” Mahan said.