COLONIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Colonie Town Attorney Michael Maggiulli says an investigation into the Sycamore Motel on Route 9 found 22 residents were living there beyond the town’s 28-day occupancy limit.
Maggiulli says police even found some residents had the motel’s address on their New York State driver’s licenses.
“We are not looking to just collect fines. But there has to be a penalty,” he said.
Thursday, the Sycamore’s owner, Suman Patel, pleaded guilty to 10 violations and agreed to pay a $1,000 fine. His attorney, Sal Ferlazzo, blamed Patel’s soft spot for his customers.
“You see, this man has a big heart, and his heart got him in trouble in terms of being nice to everybody.”
Ruth Calabria, 78, and her husband Peter say their stay had extended after she was hit by a bus on Lark Street in June. A NEWS10 ABC photographer heard the EMS call over the police scanner and was there as she was carried away on a stretcher.
“All I would want is some consideration, and the judge would say just four more weeks and you promise to get out in four weeks,” Peter said.
Colonie has battled against a history of run down motels that house sex offenders and the down and out.
In 2014, the town passed laws restricting the number of sex offenders allowed in motels and imposed a maximum occupancy stay of 28 days.
As for the Sycamore, it may have seen better days, but for people who pay an average of $800 dollars a month to stay there, it is one of only a few alternatives to renting.
The Colonie Town Attorney says they are looking at other motels for possible violations as well.