Court Orders: Clean Up Or Face Trial

FULTON, NY – A Fulton property owner who has been brought up on charges by the city of Fulton has just more than two weeks to clean her property or face a trial.

Susan Weichard, who owns the property at 230 Cayuga St., Fulton, failed to appear in Fulton City Code Court for a trial that was slated for Wednesday. Weichard was represented in court by local defense attorney Salvatore Lanza.

weichard propertyWeichard’s property was destroyed by fire in August 2007. Since that time, she has been cited several times by the city for failing to clear the remains of the building from the site.

Weichard previously filed several motions to dismiss the charges. Fulton City Court Judge Spencer Ludington denied those motions last month, however, and slated a trial for Wednesday.

Ludington asked if the property had been cleaned up in light of the court’s decision to deny motions to dismiss the charges. The city provided photographic evidence to show that it had not.

Lanza said that the city’s offer to allow Weichard plead guilty and clean the property in exchange for an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal (ACD) was acceptable. He noted that while he had notified his client of the trial date by mail, he did not speak to her or her husband prior to the appearance and did not know why she was not in court.

“They are usually here,” Lanza said. “They are paying me. It is not like they were not going to show.”

City attorney Mary Rain said the offer was good only if Weichard cleans the property. If the property remains in the same condition, Rain said additional charges would be filed.

“We are putting an anvil over her head and saying enough is enough,” she said.

“This case has dragged on,” Ludington said. He noted that Weichard’s last appearance was April 10.

“They’ve done nothing (with the property since that time),” Ludington asked.

Ludington said he would consent to the ACD in the property is cleaned up within three weeks.

“If it’s not, we will have a trial,” he said.

Ludington also pointed out his displeasure at Weichard’s absence.

“I am not pleased that your clients failed to appear,” Ludington said.

Ludington said that while be believes the city’s offer is reasonable, the Weichards’ inaction comes across as though they is “thumbing their nose” at the offer.

If the property is not cleaned within the three-weeks provided by the court, Ludington set a trial date for June 4.

“She is being given one last opportunity,” Rain said. “This is it. The judge’s patience has worn thin and the city’s patience has worn thin. I understand that it is expensive to clear a property but it has to be done.”