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Store owner seeks help after water mishap

A Fredonia store owner complained to the village Board of Trustees this week that his insurance company won’t pay for more than $40,000 in damages he incurred due to a water main break.

George Civiletto, co-owner of Tuscany Fresh Meats & Deli on East Main Street, said the February rupture happened under his parking lot and led to the loss of more than 3 million gallons of water.

“Obviously it destroyed the front portion of our blacktop and the sidewalk,” and a little bit did get into his building, he said. “The insurance company that the village is contracted through is refusing to pay. The reason why they’re refusing to pay is, and I quote, ‘this was an unforeseen event.’ I’ve never heard of an insurance company not paying because of an unforeseen event.”

Civiletto said the pavement is unsafe, and that he is seeking the village’s help on the matter.

“To this point, it’s still a liability. If anybody gets hurt there, it’s a liability on the village of Fredonia, and of course, we would get sued too,” he said, asking village officials to make the insurance company do their part “in insuring and reimbursing losses in the village of Fredonia that taxpayers are paying for on that policy.”

“I believe that the attorneys were on that and made some recommendations regarding that, and I’m wondering why we haven’t followed through,” said Trustee EvaDawn Bashaw.

One of the village’s attorneys, Melanie Beardsley, said it was getting handled by the other village attorney, Charles Roberts. Both work for Buffalo law firm Webster Szanyi LLC. Beardsley attended Monday’s meeting, Roberts did not. She said she would ask him to send the board an update.

“I know there was some discussion regarding the insurance’s position on this with the attorney. So let’s seek that out and go from there,” Bashaw said.

“The problem’s still there and it’s been since February,” Civiletto said. “Usually an insurance company takes care of this within a month or so. Again, It’s an open liability for the village of Fredonia … they are liable for this if someone gets hurt. I’m expressing that now.

“I don’t see any end to it. They’re just not going to pay, the way it sounds,” he concluded.

Trustee Roger Britz noted that Department of Public Works Director Scott Marsh looked into getting asphalt for repairs in the spring, but the village is behind state projects on a waiting list. In any event, “he (Marsh) felt it was a little beyond the scope of what he wanted to do at that point,” Civiletto said.

“We’ll follow up with the attorney and see where we’re at,” Britz said.

“I believe the insurance company just needs a nudge,” Civiletto said. “If we just leave it in their lap, they’re going to try to wait it out.”

Mayor Douglas Essek volunteered to speak with Roberts on the matter and follow up with Civiletto.

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