CANANDAIGUA — An Ontario County judge has ruled in favor of the city of Geneva in a legal proceeding against a landlord.
In a recent decision, Judge Frederick Reed dismissed the appeal of William "Casey" McDonald in his case with the city. Reed’s decision backs a Geneva City Court ruling last year by Judge Tim Buckley.
According to court documents, in May 2018 Susan and Leah Coleman were tenants living at 300 Castle St. in Geneva, a building owned by McDonald. The city building inspector was called by an employee of Ontario County Child Protective Services regarding the condition of the premises.
In court papers, the inspector found the premises to be in disrepair, unsanitary, pest infested and having multiple state code violations, along with health and safety maintenance violations. The inspector ordered the residence to be vacated and filed a proceeding in city court.
Buckley issued an order for McDonald to make repairs to the property, with a warning of a possible fine and incarceration. Buckley later ruled that McDonald did not comply with the order, no exterior work had been completed, the yard still contained junk, trash and debris, extermination was not complete, and the house could not be entered due to infestation.
Buckley fined McDonald $500 and adjourned the case to allow McDonald to complete the work. McDonald later appealed Buckley’s decision.
In his ruling, Reed said the city was not required to “exhaust” administrative proceedings under a chapter of city code, in light of imminent danger due to unsafe and unfit conditions at the Castle Street site. Reed said the appeal was without merit.
Attorney Emil Bove Jr., who is handling the case for the city, declined to comment on the decision, saying Reed’s decision speaks for itself.
In a press release sent Thursday to the Times, McDonald — who is not an attorney and representing himself — said he appealed the decisions by Buckley and Reed to the Fourth Judicial Department of state Supreme Court's Appellate Division in Rochester, and the state Court of Appeals.
"Sometimes the courts need to help code officers and landlords work out reasonable plans to see properties maintained to a high standard," McDonald said in the press release. "But ignoring the fundamental rules of law is not the way to do it."
Earlier this year, McDonald announced he plans to challenge area Congressman Tom Reed in a Republican primary next year.