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MAN GIVEN ONE WEEK TO SURRENDER DEED TO VACANT MAIN STREET LOT TO CITY

The attorney for Elmer A. Granchelli was served with a letter Friday giving Granchelli one week to surrender the deed to the South Block to the city or face contempt of court charges.

Last month, the state Court of Appeals refused to hear Granchelli's appeal of two lower court decisions directing him to turn over the vacant lot on Main Street to the city.

"We are in compliance with all court orders," Granchelli's attorney, Peter S. Gilfillan, said. He said a stay of the original ruling was in effect.

Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano disagreed.

"I don't agree with that. I've researched the law on the length of the applicability of that stay. He'll find out," he said.

In June, the city sent Granchelli a check for $64,978.76. Ottaviano said that represents a purchase price of $1.50 per square foot for the South Block, which he said covers 43,319.17 square feet.

That check has not been cashed and as far as he knows is still in Gilfillan's office, Ottaviano said. Gilfillan refused to comment.

The city plans to sell the lot on the south side of Main Street between Pine and Locust streets to another developer in hopes of filling the gaping hole in the heart of its downtown business district.

Ottaviano said last month the city also plans to sue Granchelli for damages connected with the drawn-out battle over the land.

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