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Bolivar demolition debacle: Property owner makes statement, provides documents

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Patrick Dempsey ‘clears the air’ after state finds no asbestos danger

Dempsey to Moyer: “…nothing less than a slanderous statement.

By Andrew Harris

On July 20, we reported that a home demolition on Main Street Bolivar had become a matter of potential public health concern. Village officials indicated that asbestos was the concern and that they had issued a “stop work order.” Bolivar code enforcement officer Roger Moyer was interviewed and told the Sun that the applicant, Dempsey, had refused to comply with the order and he was forced to call the NYS Department of Labor Asbestos Control Bureau(ACB). Read that reporting here.

On August 26, we received an email from Bolivar Richburg Central School Superintendent Michael Retzlaff which included the results from the ACB, which determined that no airborne contamination was found at, or near the demolition site. Read that report with documents here.

Before we published either of the above reports, Dempsey was provided a chance to comment and declined to do so, “until a later date.” Below is the statement that Dempsey provided yesterday:

  “In January of 2022, I applied for and received a Demo permit from Mr. Moyer, the Village Code Enforcement Officer, for a 150-year-old farmhouse located at 421 Main St Bolivar. Over three months later, on May 9, I started the demo project and had demolished a third of the house by the end of the day. On May 10, at approximately 8:30 that morning, Mr. Moyer showed up at the site and informed me that he had just received a complaint and that I now needed an Asbestos report done before continuing. I told him that he had never notified me of this before I started the demo and that he never put an asbestos testing requirement on the permit, but he maintained that I now needed one. 

  So, I discontinued my demo work, received an Asbestos report and met with Mr. Moyer on June 13, at the Village Hall to give him his copy of the report. During that meeting I related to  Mr. Moyer that I had done some research into the Village Uniform Code, and found out that he was in violation of it, in that it states that all Stop Work Orders must be written out, dated and signed by the Code Enforcement Officer, and must state the reason for issuance, and that they are to be personally handed to the permit holder or sent in certified mail to the permit holder- which he had not done.  Mr. Moyer replied ” I can write you one now! “, however, he still did not.  After reading through the Asbestos report Mr. Moyer replied, ” So basically, they found nothing” and asked me when I was going to finish the project. After settling the issue with the Village Board, I called Mr. Moyer on the morning of July 5. He informed me that he had just written out an order giving me permission to proceed with the demo and I was to meet him at the Village Hall at 11:30 to receive a copy. I met with Mr. Moyer, and he showed me on his phone a copy of this order to proceed but said he was unable to print it and that he would have the Village Clerk print it out for me.  I replied that this was fine, and I would come back later that day to pick it up.    At 1:13 that same day, less than two hours later, Mr. Moyer left me a voicemail stating that he had just received a call from **** ******* who had instructed Moyer to issue me a Stop Work Order, and that the caller was going to file a complaint with the NYSDOL.  After waiting two more weeks for Mr. Moyer to hand deliver or send me by certified mail an official Stop Work Order (which he is legally obligated to do) and for some reason -either out of incompetence, or his willful disregard of the Village Uniform code, never followed through on, even after I reminded him of it on June 13 – I finished the project on July 19. By this point the property had sat in a partially demolished state for over two months and I was concerned over the safety hazard it presented in that condition, as well as my liability if someone was injured while venturing on to the property. That same morning, I was notified that the complainer had been sitting across the street in his company truck filming me doing the demo and the very next day the NYSDOL showed up. 

  On July 23, I heard that Mr. Moyer had instructed the Head Start program on Main St. that they needed to shut down due to an apparent health risk. I immediately contacted a school official that morning to notify him of the asbestos report I had done and asked if he would like a copy for their records, which he gratefully accepted.

     Mr. Moyer claiming that I refused to accept his Stop Work Orders is nothing less than a slanderous statement. And, if Mr. Moyer was so concerned about public safety, why did he go from saying “So basically they found nothing” after reading the report on June 13, to acting as though he had a Chernobyl site on his hands only after the NYSDOL got involved, and why did he never disclose to school officials the report that was in his possession since June 13? 

     In short, had I known prior to receiving the Demo permit that doing this little project was going to turn into a three-ring circus, I would have sold the property and moved on.

Respectfully,

Patrick Dempsey

Below are copies of the permits and the applicable Village of Bolivar local law

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