Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

October 18, 2012

Landlord blames concert-goers for vandalism

Staff reports
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — A commercial property owner has asked the City of Lockport to reimburse him for the expense of reversing acts of vandalism that he blames on the Labatt Canal Concert Series.

Developer Elmer A. Granchelli complained in two recent letters to Mayor Michael Tucker that his business shelled out in excess of $16,000 since 2009 to have broken windows, broken railings and stolen property replaced, and graffiti scrubbed, from various commercial properties he owns downtown.

Granchelli’s first letter, dated July 16, included a listing of 28 instances of property damage reported to police since May 2009. The total of damage done, through June 2012, was $12,677, the letter said. A second letter to Tucker, on Aug. 15, claimed another $1,571 in damages in the interim.

The letters link the acts of vandalism with the Canal Concert Series, which has been performed on Friday nights from late June through mid August at Ulrich City Centre since 2008. Most, but not all, affected Granchelli properties are on City Centre’s perimeter.

“The damages and expense are escalating with the passing of each weekend concert series,” Granchelli’s August follow-up letter said. “The damages are mounting and it is not fair for us to keep sustaining this property damage. We have filed police reports for all of these incidents and there doesn’t seem to be any improvement.”

The listing of damages at Granchelli’s properties shows acts of vandalism were discovered and/or reported to police mostly in the concert off season.

For instance, in 2009, two broken windows were reported at 116 Main St. on May 1, about eight weeks before the first concert in that year’s series. Mats were reported stolen from Lockview Plaza on June 24, two days before the first concert. Six instances of broken windows or railings at Main Street properties, and graffiti on Washburn Street properties, were reported one to five days after a concert at City Centre.

In 2010, graffiti at 130 Washburn St. and 215 Walnut St. was reported in September; broken windows at 50 East Ave. and 36 Pine St., where Granchelli’s office is located, were reported in early November and late December respectively.

Of six incidents in 2011, two — broken windows at 100 and 120 Main St. — were reported on Aug. 1, three days after a concert; and the rest were reported in winter months.

Granchelli’s claims have been turned over to the city’s insurer for consideration, according to Corporation Counsel John Ottaviano — who said he doubts the insurer will agree to cover them.

That would equal a finding that the city corporation is responsible for the acts of vandals, “which it is not,” Ottaviano said.