The long-awaited court showdown over a small riverfront dock in Tivoli ended abruptly before it even began.
Tivoli Sailing Company owner Jerome Hollick, accompanied by a half dozen supporters, appeared in Village Justice Court Nov. 18 ready to reply to a village order that he dismantle the wooden dock he has been using for his business.
After Village Justice Howard F. Clark took the bench, however, he announced to the court that he was recusing himself from the trial.
“Most of you have been copied on the various emails that the village has received, one from a village official,” Clark said. “With that in mind, I am going to recuse myself from this case … even though I still feel that I could be fair, to avoid any, even the appearance of any, impropriety.”
Everybody then filed out of the courtroom.
The case now goes to county court at a date yet to be determined.
Hollick had been served with an appearance ticket this summer from Tivoli’s zoning enforcement officer, alleging that he repaired the dock without a valid building permit.
Hollick built the dock, just south of the Friendship Street railroad crossing, in 2007 after tying up his boats in that location since 2000. The village then bought the property from CXR Railroad in 2010, and in February 2013 asked Hollick to dismantle the dock because it was on village property. The court case had been postponed at least once.
Outside the courtroom, Hollick said that his dock makes the waterfront safer, and that he believed he was on trial because of interpersonal issues.
“I feel I’ve clashed with members of the village government,” he said, adding, “We all want the same things.”
Hollick used to live in Tivoli but now lives in Saugerties, where he said most of his sailing business is located now.