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Buffalo Housing Court Judge Henry J. Nowak on Monday assured a California man who owns several dilapidated city properties that he will give him as long as it takes to clean up and possibly sell the holdings.

Nowak, who learned progress is being made on repairs to the properties, told Joy A. Drati he could eventually receive conditional discharges in all the cases. Drati was accompanied in his latest court appearance by his father, Bishop Enock Lee Drati of Uganda's Anglican Church, and Lauretta Hicks of Buffalo's Infinite Options company.

But the judge also warned Drati, who spent a month in jail before being released on reduced bail, "all bets are off" if problems crop up in the renovation efforts. Drati and his attorney, Harvey F. Siegel, said repairs and sales negotiations are under way on the properties.

Siegel told the judge it could take a year or more to resolve all the housing violations.

Drati, based in San Pablo, Calif., operates as JD MAX Homes LLC.

Drati's father said he probably will remain in Buffalo until mid-December to help his son, then return to his hometown of Arua, in northwest Uganda.

Hicks, whose company recently began helping Drati, said volunteers, some from St. Philip Episcopal Church, are helping his resolve some of his housing problems.

Hicks also confirmed that negotiations to sell some of the properties are under way with Journey's End Resettlement Service, a Grand island entity that helps to provide local housing for new immigrants.


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