This morning the city of Utica asked the Oneida County Supreme Court to issue a repair or demolition order, and after several witnesses took the stand, that's exactly what they got.
"This is a landmark building that has been absolutely abused over the last several years by what I would consider an absentee landlord," says Mayor Palmieri, city of Utica.
Mayor Palmieri is talking about Ronald Prince of California. He bought the 3-story office building in 2009, and since then, the Mayor says he's let it rot.
"We went back in there in January of last year and it was absolutely a disgrace what had transpired inside that building from collapse of the ceilings, to mold, to people had been living in there," says Mayor Palmieri.
"Police went in and found along with the codes department, and fire department, there were indeed illegal activities going on. Not only is it an eyesore, but there are some possible dangerous conditions," says Joan Harris, Assistant Corporation Counsel, city of Utica.
The city counsel says the longer the owner let the building deteriorate, the quicker it was became a safety hazard.
"Black mold taking over the entire building is a concern due to possible respiratory impacts. Also since the building was constructed prior to 1974, the concern is asbestos is in there as well," says Harris.
Witnesses from the codes department, fire department, and an engineer testified on the cities behalf, while a contractor testified on the defendant's behalf. At the end of the trial, the judge granted the cities petition. But Harris says it's more than a win for the city.
"We're here, we're looking out for them. And I don't just mean people that live in City Hall. I mean them in terms of yourself, myself, people walking the street everyday, not only the taxpayers but the citizens at large," says Harris.
The judge gave the current owner, Ronald Prince, 3 months to get the repair work done. And if he does not, the city can step in and do whatever's necessary at his expense.