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Judge bars sale of many Broadway Market assets

The out-going managers of the Broadway Market on Monday were barred from selling many market items pending a court hearing aimed at clarifying how much of the property belongs to city taxpayers.

State Supreme Court Justice John A. Michalek, ruling "there are questions of fact" affecting the property ownership, kept in place the restraining order issued last week blocking an auction scheduled Thursday by the Broadway Market Management Corp.

Attorney Brian Lewandowski told the judge the corporation, which has leased the historic market site for the past 24 years, will go out of business Friday. But City Corporation Counsel Alisa A. Lukasiewicz said all the disputed property will be "allowed to stay" on the market grounds.

Pending court resolution of the ownership rights to market goods valued at between $70,000 and more than $200,000, the market will remain open under the guidance of a City Hall management team.

The city's top lawyer said she plans to shop at the market, said to be one of the nation's oldest continually operating public markets, Saturday when new managers step in.

Last week, State Supreme Court Justice Timothy J. Drury granted the city's request for a preliminary injunction blocking plans for the public auction of signs and various market paraphernalia that city officials contend are city-owned.

Lewandowski asked the judge Monday if he could order the city to take out a bond to cover any losses incurred through the delayed sale of corporate property.

But Lukasiewicz said municipalities are not required to post bonds in such financial disputes, and Michalek agreed.

After long-standing disputes with the city over the market's decline, market management recently voted to dissolve the nonprofit group that has been operating the facility under a lease with the city since 1984.

Last month, Mayor Byron W. Brown and Common Council President David A. Franczyk said a temporary management structure would be created to keep the city-owned facility open while a hunt continues for a permanent operator.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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