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Landlord sues Town of Tonawanda to stop demolitions, claims he is scapegoat for two murders on his property

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Kenmore Avenue Apartments Unsafe

The garages at an apartment complex owned by Frank Juliano on Parker Boulevard in the Town of Tonawanda, shown on Sept. 29. The Town Board on Monday voted to declare four other garages at Juliano-owned apartment buildings unsafe. The town could force Juliano to repair the structures or tear them down and order Juliano to pay the demolition costs.

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The owner of a block of apartment buildings on Kenmore Avenue filed a court petition this week to try to stop the Town of Tonawanda from demolishing some garages that town inspectors claim are in unsafe and deplorable condition.

Frank Juliano, owner of 152 apartments on Kenmore Avenue, filed his legal action in State Supreme Court on Tuesday, claiming that the town has not given him enough time to clean and repair the garages behind his apartments.

Town officials have unfairly targeted him and his properties – known as the Kenmore Tudors Apartments – since Aug. 28, when two people were shot and killed in one of the apartments at 703 Parker Blvd., Juliano told The Buffalo News in an interview on Wednesday.

“There was a double murder in one of my buildings, and the town and some of the neighbors are blaming me for that,” Juliano said. “The murders were something that happened, totally out of my control. The crime happened in an apartment where I had been trying to evict the tenant for months.”

During a meeting on Nov. 14, Town Board members found that four garages behind Juliano’s properties are unsafe.

The town is currently making plans to demolish the garages, “hopefully by the end of this year,” Town Supervisor Joseph Emminger told The News on Wednesday.

Emminger took umbrage at Juliano’s claim that the town has treated him unfairly and that the town is scapegoating him for two murders.

“The murders at his property had nothing to do with escalating any of this, and he knows it,” Emminger said. “The garages in question are in terrible condition, and we are looking at his other properties as well, including the apartment buildings themselves.

“Our building inspectors have been dealing with this landlord for years. He’s been cited for violations before, and it’s always someone else’s fault. He always has an excuse.”

Juliano told The News that he has owned the Tudor Apartments complex since the mid-1980s. He said about 200 tenants live in his apartments. He said most of the tenants pay $800 to $900 a month in rent.

“The vast majority of my tenants cause no trouble at all. Maybe 2% have caused problems, and those who do cause problems, I try to evict them,” Juliano said.

He said he believes the town has been targeting him since the Aug. 28 slayings of one of his tenants, Antoyn Williams, 51, and his girlfriend, Kristina Perez, 36. In mid-September, Tonawanda police charged Jamire Woods, 18, with the murders.

Woods' family knew Williams, and the shooting “was a domestic situation, beyond my control,” Juliano told The News.

The apartments are surrounded by a neighborhood of well-maintained single homes, and after the shootings, several neighbors publicly accused Juliano of failing to properly maintain his buildings. They also accused town officials of failing to take action on long-standing problems with crime and poor maintenance at Juliano’s properties.

According to court papers Juliano filed on Tuesday, a town building inspector showed up on Sept. 22 and posted “condemnation and no trespassing” signs on four of the garages he owns off Kenmore Avenue.

He said the town only gave him one week’s notice that the Town Board would hold a public meeting on Nov. 14 to consider ordering his garages demolished.

“My architect tells me the garages are structurally sound, and I’ve been trying to clean them up,” Juliano said Wednesday. “I’ve been working on it all day.”

Prior to September, town officials never told Juliano there was any problem with the garages, said his attorney, Richard J. Lippes. The attorney said Juliano “stands ready and willing” to make any needed repairs but needs time to do the work.

Juliano “has been on notice for years” that his properties need improvement, Emminger said.

“If he has a problem and cannot properly maintain his buildings, he should consider selling them,” Emminger added.

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