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Texas firm guilty of failing to pull Dumpster from Lockport city site

A company that sought to demolish a decrepit Mill Street building was convicted Thursday in Lockport Housing Court of failing to remove a Dumpster on the site that may contain asbestos, although city officials don't know for sure.

Court officials said Liberty Plant Maintenance of Dayton, Texas, owner of 89 Mill St., was cited Dec. 20 for the untended Dumpster.

Shirley A. Nicholas, a 2011 Common Council candidate who lives on the street, has long complained that the Dumpster's contents were being blown around the neighborhood.

Judge Thomas M. DiMillo found the company guilty in absentia.

"I totally forgot that was today [Thursday]," company owner Scott J. Krzyzanowski said about the court date when reached by telephone.

DiMillo scheduled sentencing April 26. Deputy Corporation Counsel Matthew E. Brooks said that because of the company's failure to respond to mailed summonses, he will ask for the maximum fine of $1,000 a day.

From the day of citation to the day of sentencing, The Buffalo News calculated that the fine would be $129,000.

In 2010, Krzyzanowski, a Dunkirk native, bought the 16,000-square-foot brick building, a mostly roofless former power plant for a long-gone paper mill.

He single-handedly cleared the site of brush and hypodermic needles -- "I had to run the crackheads out of there," he said -- before the state shut him down.

His cleanup was halted by the state Labor Department, which demanded an asbestos survey.

Brooks said the company that owns the Dumpster won't remove it because if it contains asbestos, it would cost more to clean the Dumpster than it's worth.

That's not the way Krzyzanowski sees it.

"There is no asbestos, but the state won't let the guy move it," he said.

He said the state is trying to fine him $25,000 to $50,000 for attempting an illegal demolition.

"Here is a building that stood vacant for 25 to 30 years. If they choose to push this, it will stand there for another 30 years," he said. "I am so fed up. I want to move part of my business back there, but it is so impossible to do anything in New York State. The added costs make it impossible."

Krzyzanowski said he has not abandoned the property.

"I have a guy checking on the property once a week. Did the city do that much? Hell, no," he said.