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TEACHER IS JAILED FOR HOUSING VIOLATIONS

A Buffalo teacher was sentenced to 45 days in jail this week for failing to repair code violations at his North Buffalo home.

For John Holenski, a teacher at Burgard High School, it was his 26th Housing Court appearance and third sentencing in about 12 years.

City Judge Diane Devlin also fined him $1,500.

"He's been a problem forever," said Frank DiJames, the city's Housing Court representative. "Neighbors claim his problems date back 20 years."

Holenski, who owns several properties in the city, was found guilty of numerous violations at his home at 94 Russell St. The violations range from peeling paint and bad gutters to broken windows and cracked sidewalks. Holenski also was charged with failing to get a building permit for a new garage.

"It reminds me of that house in 'The Money Pit,' " Holenski said. "I've made an effort to keep it up, but I probably shouldn't have bought it."

In 1992, Holenski was fined $9,150 after a dozen fed-up Parkside-area neighbors asked the court to take action against him for failing to maintain the Russell Street house.

Four years later, Holenski was fined $4,200 for failing to repair violations at two of his other properties -- 97 and 101 Guernsey St. Both properties are across the street from Black Rock Academy (School 51) on Hertel Avenue.

In the past, Holenski has criticized city inspectors for targeting his properties while single-property owners with similar violations were not cited.

Devlin, in sentencing Holenski this week, allowed him to serve his 45 days in jail during weekends so he could work to fix up his Russell Street home during the week.

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