August 02 , 2007

Man killed in barn accident

Pennsylvania man was dismantling a barn in Dryden


Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Traffic streaks by a barn at 1890 Dryden Road in the town of Dryden, where a worker was killed while dismantling it Wednesday morning. The barn is located about 3 miles west of the village.

Staff Reporter

DRYDEN — An accident at a Freeville barn left a Pennsylvania man dead Wednesday morning.
State Police said Gerald A. Hadden, 29, of Susquehanna, Pa., was part of a work crew dismantling a barn at 1890 Dryden Road when the accident occurred.
According to Michael Soroka, an investigator with the State Police, there were a total of five men in the crew that worked with Benedict Antique Lumber and Stone, based in New Milford, Pa.
Benedict Antique Lumber and Stone is a small company that salvages lumber and beams from barns, according to its Web site.
The company is owned by Jesse R. Benedict, 29, who started the business in 2001. Benedict employs seven full-time workers. Although Hadden recently joined the company on June 25, Benedict said he had known him for about 10 years.
“We are all friends, all around the same age,” Benedict said this morning. “He said to one of the guys that he was put on this earth to make people laugh. He was a real character. Even when he wasn’t around we were always talking about something he said or did.”
Police took statements from Hadden’s co-workers, who said a beam that was supported by a crane dislodged from the barn and struck Hadden in the head just before 11 a.m. Wednesday.
Benedict said Hadden had been prying apart two beams when either the crowbar or corner of the beam hit Hadden above his left eye, causing a massive head injury.
“We have been doing this for six year and it was just a freak, unfortunate accident,” Benedict said. “(Hadden) had been doing it for months now and he was just as proficient as everyone else. He did it everyday.”
Soroka said when the accident first happened, one worker called out to a neighbor who called 911 and another flagged down a trooper who was driving by.
Hadden had no vital signs when officers responded to the scene, Soroka said. Hadden was transported to Cayuga Medical Center in Ithaca, where he was pronounced dead at 11:37 a.m.
Florence Davis, an 81-year-old who lives in an apartment on the property, was at home when the accident occurred.
“I heard noises and men talking,” Davis said. “There were at least 10 police cars lined up. A man told me to go inside.”
The State Police, State Department of Environmental Conservation, Dryden Fire Department, an ambulance crew and paramedics all responded to the scene.
The property is owned by Cheryl E. Brotherton.
Soroka said police were at the scene for a little more than an hour.
“We are going to miss him,” Benedict said.



Riverside owner found in contempt

Staff Reporter

CORTLAND — The principal owner of Riverside Plaza has been held in contempt of court for continuing to collect rent after the plaza was turned over to a court-appointed receiver.
Pasquale Cipolla, president of P. Daniel C. Inc., the company that now owns the plaza, has not provided money or necessary information to William Colucci of Syracuse-based Pyramid Brokerage Company, according to a contempt order issued Tuesday by state Supreme Court Justice Phillip Rumsey.
Colucci was appointed receiver Jan. 31.
Cipolla has not provided original leases, accounted for all rents due and unpaid as of Jan. 31 or accounted for or paid all tenant security deposits, rents or other sums collected on or after Jan. 31, the order states.
Cipolla failed, for example, to turn over a $13,305 rent check from Penn Traffic Inc., the owner of P&C, which P. Daniel C. deposited after Feb. 3, according to the order.
In a June 26 affidavit, Cipolla states the money was used in the “normal and ordinary course of operating the shopping center,” but Cipolla should not have even been engaged in that task because it was the receiver’s responsibility, Rumsey states in court papers.
Cipolla may have to turn over more money besides the $13,305 rent check, but until he accounts for what he’s received the court does not know if that is the case or how much he must turn over.
Both Cipolla’s lawyer, Richard Earne of Bowmansville, and Colucci’s lawyer, Anthony Hanley of Syracuse, declined to comment Wednesday, saying they had not yet heard about the contempt order.
Hanley added it is not his policy to comment on pending cases.
Neither Cipolla nor Colucci could be reached Wednesday.
The Jan. 31 receivership order against Cipolla was prompted by foreclosure proceedings by Chase Commercial Mortgage Securities Corp against Cipolla.
The order gives Colucci authority to collect rents and manage the property while the plaza is in the foreclosure process.
The bank claims Cipolla has fallen behind on payments on a $4.5 million mortgage.


With supervisor casting tie-breaking vote —

Town to request Wal-Mart leave outparcels green

Staff Reporter

CORTLANDVILLE — Disagreement over the wisdom of asking Wal-Mart to leave undeveloped two parcels that adjoin the proposed South Cortland Supercenter resulted in a tie vote at the regular Cortlandville Town Board meeting Wednesday night. Town Supervisor Dick Tupper cast the tie-breaking vote.
As a result, a letter will be sent to Wal-Mart asking for additional consideration of the town’s request to leave at least one of the two outparcels as green space.
The board also decided that the public hearing for the project’s Aquifer Protection Permit would be held at 7 p.m. Aug. 9 with the vote on the permit following immediately afterward — the town’s final required action for the approval of the project.
On Tuesday night, the town Planning Board approved the subdivision and site plan applications for the 205,000 square foot store, which would be located on a 33.7-acre parcel just to the south of the existing Cortlandville Crossing. It also recommended the approval of the aquifer protection permit.
When the project’s special zoning designation was approved at the beginning of March, the Town Board had requested that the two outparcels, each over an acre in size, be left as undeveloped green space. The Planning Board made the same recommendation as part of its project approvals.
On Wednesday, Town Board member Ted Testa made the request to send the letter.
Town Attorney John Folmer indicated that Wal-Mart and its legal team were well aware of the town’s request, but that he would send whatever the board chose to send.
Board member Ed O’Donnell questioned the sense in letting the outparcels remain undeveloped.
“It’s like shooting yourself in the foot, as far as I’m concerned,” O’Donnell said. “We’re sitting here asking for more sales tax, we’re looking for assessment, and here we are wanting it to be green space. It’s just not good business sense to me.”
Testa, who had originally proposed the idea, said that he would like to see more of a buffer between the development and the neighboring Walden Place assisted living community, as well as additional undeveloped land to help protect the aquifer. The project site has been identified as a sensitive aquifer recharge area.
Board member John Proud said the stormwater management system designed by Wal-Mart’s engineers is about as technologically advanced as it gets, negating the need for a dedicated recharge area.
Proud also pointed toward economic considerations — hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales and property taxes could be generated on the prime commercial real estate.
 “We had concern last year when (town assessor) David Briggs told us that for the first time in a number of years, we have had no increase in assessment… We could calculate how much it’s going to cost us to leave those two outparcels as green space,” Proud said, pointing out that the lost taxes would be made up out of the pockets of the rest of the town.