A.G. Schneiderman Announces Settlement to Clean up Central Park Plaza

November 22, 2011 Updated Nov 22, 2011 at 2:16 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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A.G. Schneiderman Announces Settlement to Clean up Central Park Plaza

November 22, 2011 Updated Nov 22, 2011 at 2:16 PM EDT

Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman on Tuesday announced a settlement ordering Samuel Kurz and Central Park Plaza, LLC, the Brooklyn-based owners of Central Park Plaza, to clean up the property that has become a dangerous blight in the heart of a Buffalo community.

Central Park Plaza, a 29-acre site located at 129 Holden Street, was once a thriving property with many commercial tenants, but as a result of the failure of its owners to maintain the site, the tenants left and it has become a haven for criminals who engage in dog fighting, drug dealing, and other various crimes.

The site, which is located in Buffalo’s Masten District, is surrounded on all sides by residences and apartments. With five schools located in close proximity to Central Park Plaza, the area is heavily trafficked by neighborhood adults and children.

"For years, residents living near Central Park Plaza have had to live in fear of this eyesore and dangerous public nuisance located in the heart of their community. As a result of this settlement, those days will be over soon," said Attorney General Schneiderman. "This neglect has threatened the health, welfare and safety of its residents and my office is committed to cracking down on absentee landlords who devastate our neighborhoods."

Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown thanked Schneiderman for acting quickly on his administration's request to take legal action against the property's owners.

“We’re pleased that State Attorney General, Eric T. Schneiderman, responded to my Administration’s request to bring legal action against Samuel Kurz and Central Park Plaza, LLC,” said  Brown.  “My City Housing Inspectors have worked hard to get this site cleaned up, and made safer for residents by writing up the Brooklyn-based owners, both the corporation and the individual.   We applaud the State Attorney General’s leadership, and work with the local office in response to our request for action.  Central Park residents will no longer have to live in fear of this dangerous public nuisance.”

The property is unlit at night and often draws vandals and thieves into the community, puts neighborhood residents at risk of being the victims of crime, and allows individuals to dump garbage and trash into the plaza.  Moreover, the unlit plaza is a danger to pedestrians and drivers because the parking lot is riddled with cavernous potholes and other obstructions.

With no proper security, criminals routinely break into and vandalize the buildings at Central Park Plaza.  Making matters worse, the unsecured buildings attract neighborhood children who are able to enter the buildings at an imminent risk to their safety.

"People were fearful of that plaza and didn't even feel safe sitting outside their homes. We should not have to live like that,” said community activist and resident Beverly Davis. "The place was dangerous and nothing was being done by this owner until Attorney General Schneiderman came in. This is wonderful."

Community member, Joy McDuffie said, "We watched Central Park Plaza go from a once vibrant place to a 29 acre eyesore. What is essential for this community is a redevelopment of Central Park Plaza. It was great to see Attorney General Schneiderman's office get involved and get the process of redevelopment moving again."

Under the agreement with the Attorney General, Kurz and Central Park Plaza, LLC must pay for and clean up the property.

The Consent Order also requires the respondents to:

• Light Central Park Plaza from dusk to dawn

• Patrol Central Park Plaza from dusk to dawn

• Repair or secure all broken windows, holes in exterior walls and doors

• Remove all trash and debris

• Cut and remove all overgrown weeds and grass

In addition, the agreement requires that the respondents sell Central Park Plaza as soon as practicable and bars them from owning property in Buffalo.