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Six weeks allowed for cleanup plan

An attorney for the Texas company that owns a decrepit building in Lockport will have six weeks to come up with a cleanup plan.

In Housing Court on Thursday, City Judge Thomas M. DiMillo adjourned the case of Liberty Plant Maintenance until June 14.

James P. Milbrand, attorney for Liberty and its owner, Scott J. Krzyzanowski, said he has hired a contractor to perform an asbestos survey on the shell of a building at 89 Mill St. and a Dumpster left unattended in front of the building since September 2010.

The 16,000-square-foot building, once a power plant for a paper mill, was purchased by Krzyzanowski, a Dunkirk native, in 2010.

His efforts to renovate it were stopped by the state Labor Department, which demanded an asbestos survey. Eighteen months later, one is finally under way, by Lozier Environmental of Rochester, Milbrand said.

The attorney, a partner of Buffalo's Hiscock & Barclay firm, said he is trying to negotiate a fine with the state that will settle the charges for the unpermitted work on the building while still leaving the company enough capital to carry out its plans for the site, which included a retail plaza.

"It costs a lot of money to take the building down, and more if there's asbestos," Milbrand told reporters. "Paying $10,000, $20,000, $30,000 or $40,000 in fines is money he can't put into the building."

DiMillo said, "Levying a giant fine, as in most housing cases, doesn't get the property remediated."

The judge had convicted Liberty Plant Maintenance of building-code violations in absentia April 5. The city penalty could be as much as $1,000 per day of violation.

The Labor Department also is prosecuting the company, and Deputy Corporation Counsel Matthew E. Brooks said the city might yield to the state.

DiMillo said he wants the asbestos test results available by the June 14 court date, along with some work plans for a cleanup.

Milbrand said Liberty won't wait for June 14 to start work.