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BANKRUPTCY FILING WON'T DETER PUSH FOR DEMOLITION

The owner of a fire-ravaged Riverside building where a teenage boy died last year has filed for bankruptcy protection, his attorney disclosed Friday.

But the new twist will not deter the city in its push to tear down the building at 390 Ontario St., Buffalo officials said.

"It seems to be another rabbit that they've pulled out of the hat," said W. Gregg Harris, a city building codes specialist. "I'm not a lawyer, so I can't speculate what impact this might have on proceedings, but we are continuing to push for demolition."

During a hearing in Buffalo Housing Court, the attorney for Karol J. Myles told a judge that his client has filed documents in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Anthony P. LoRusso argued that because the two-story structure is one of Myles' assets, federal bankruptcy officials must be notified and could have a say in any effort to tear it down.

Housing Court Judge Diane Y. Devlin scheduled a demolition hearing for March 6 after city officials claimed that Myles failed to present revised plans to reconstruct the building. At the hearing, permit and inspections experts plan to present evidence supporting their contention that there are unsafe conditions at the site.

The dispute began last March, after a fire in the building claimed the life of a 15-year-old Riverside boy. Since then, more than 100 complaints have been filed by neighborhood residents about the condition of the former car dealership, according to North Council Member Joseph A. Golombek Jr.

The city's push to demolish the building was delayed last month when Erie County Court Judge Timothy J. Drury ruled that city officials had failed to give Myles' proper notice of their intentions. The case was sent back to Housing Court and has since been the focus of several contentious meetings.

Myles' attorney claimed the city has "an unbelievable passion to destroy a valuable building."

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