Halftown house

The damage from the Cayuga Nation’s demolition of a house Wednesday afternoon at 2906 County Road 124 in Varick.

SENECA FALLS — The Cayuga Nation made news in February 2020 when it destroyed buildings on several Route 89 properties in the early hours of a cold winter morning.

On Wednesday, the Nation knocked down three more structures on two parcels it owns: a house and barn at 2906 County Road 124 in Varick, and a house at 4 Briarwood Circle in Seneca Falls.

In a press release issued by Maria Stagliano, a senior account executive at Washington, D.C.-based LEVICK, the Nation said both properties had attracted various forms of criminal activity and posed significant safety hazards to the community at large. LEVICK is a public relations firm used by the Nation and its federally recognized leader, Clint Halftown.

It was unclear from video posted on Facebook if people were living at the Varick property. The Nation said no one was leasing or inhabiting the property lawfully.

“The Cayuga Nation Police Department’s No. 1 goal is safety,” said Mark Lincoln, superintendent of police for the CNPD. “Our officers ensured no one was inside the house or on the property at the time of demolition, and we continue to prioritize the safety of our community at large during all police operations.”

In a press release issued Thursday afternoon, the Seneca County sheriff’s office said it was dispatched to the scene around 6 p.m. Wednesday, at which time Nation police produced a copy of a demolition order issued by the Nation zoning and code enforcement officer. The sheriff’s office said its officers assumed a neutral stand and did not take sides with the opposing factions at the scene.

The Nation bought the Varick property in 2008. It was the scene of a September 2015 incident in which Cattaraugus County resident Marcus Redeye admitted shooting someone in the back. He pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and was sentenced to a year in jail.

The Cayugas purchased the Seneca Falls property in 2010. In 2013, it was leased to a Nation citizen. The press release said it was abandoned eight months later and has been inhabited only by squatters since that time.

“The demolition of this property is long overdue,” Halftown said. “Today’s action is important for the health and safety of our community at large, and I am glad to finally take care of this uninhabitable property once and for all.”

Many people opposed to Halftown’s leadership assailed the Nation’s actions on social media, with a group called Halftown Must Go saying on its Instagram page that “we need eyes on this injustice.”

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