Judge rules against Eldorado owner
Lawyer says decision means hotel and bar will close until legal fight with city decided
TIM O'BRIEN Staff Writer
Publication Date: March 3, 2005  Page: B1  Section: Capital Region  Edition: 
TROY - A judge rejected a request Wednesday to allow the Eldorado hotel and bar to reopen while a legal case over its closing is heard.

Mario Abate, the Eldorado's owner, had sought an injunction, blocking the city's efforts to close the hotel and bar at 121 Fourth St. State Supreme Court Justice James B. Canfield declined to halt the city's actions, which will require 24 tenants to move elsewhere.

"The bar will be closed, and the tenants will be kicked out pending the outcome of this lawsuit," said a frustrated David Rynkowski, attorney for Abate and his wife, Elda.

While Rynkowski is free to submit another request, he said he is not likely to do so.

"Two judges have told me you are not entitled to get a stay if you can get a monetary judgment later," he said.

City Corporation Counsel David Mitchell said the Abates' case was full of errors in the way it was presented.

"In the final analysis, it was defective and they have to start over," he said. "We didn't get into the merits of the case."

Rynkowski said his client intends to sue the city over the decision to close the bar and hotel for the rest of the year and to seek monetary damages for lost business.

The bar was shuttered under the city's nuisance abatement law, which assigns points to buildings for arrests and code violations there. While Elda Abate believes the law is unconstitutional and unfairly penalizes owners who may not know a crime is being committed inside, Rynkowski said, the family may be forced to agree to a settlement to get back into business.

"There have been talks of settlement. I don't know what the offer is," he said. "I don't know if my client will entertain one."

He said the court's ruling plac es an unfair burden on a business owner.

"It gives the city an extreme bargaining power - enact an unconstitutional law, leave it closed for 30 days and then offer a settlement if they drop the lawsuit," he said.

But Mitchell said the city is just trying to end problematic behavior at Abate's bar and hotel.

"All the mayor is looking for is the Abates to bring the building up to code, to provide additional security to prevent drug activity in and out of the building, and to be more strict in checking IDs."

A hearing on closing the property was held last year, and an administrative law judge ruled against the bar owner in November. The city ordered the bar and hotel closed on Feb. 19, starting the legal battle. The city has said it will give the tenants time to find new homes.

Tim O'Brien can be reached at 454-5096 or tobrien@timesunion.com.

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Publication Date: March 3, 2005
Byline:TIM O'BRIEN Staff Writer
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Publication:Times Union (Albany, N.Y.)
Headline:Judge rules against Eldorado owner
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