By JOE MAHONEY
The Daily Star
---- — COOPERSTOWN — A bitter legal dispute between the original partners in the Cooperstown All-Star Village has been settled out of court, according to the head of the company operating the baseball camp for boys.
Martin Patton said that as a result of the settlement, he and his wife, Brenda, are now the sole owners of All-Star Village, located off Route 205 in West Oneonta.
“This is great news, not only for the Pattons, but for the community because it really has been a great asset,” Patton told The Daily Star.
Patton said he plans to double the size of the business by bringing in 50 teams each week, up from the 24 teams that flock to the camp each week over the summer months.
Over the past season, Patton said, All-Star Village employed 230 people. Eventually, he said he hopes to increase his seasonal work force to 375 people.
“We have a great product, and it’s a wonderful place to work for kids getting their first-time jobs,” he said. “For the most part, we are dealing with college students and high school students who are learning what it means to make a buck in the workplace.”
He said his total payroll over the most recent 11-week season was about $600,000, adding that the operation pumped more than $25 million into the region’s economy as the families of the players stayed in local hotels, dined in local restaurants and shopped in local stores.
Patton declined to discuss the amount of the settlement with his former partner, Joseph A. Ferrara Sr. of Long Island. He said the settlement included a confidentiality agreement.
Ferrara’s lawyer, Richard Harlem of Oneonta, did not return telephone messages to his office.
Ferrara’s company, Cooperstown Capital LLC, held a 35 percent ownership interest in both All-Star Village and Abner Doubleday LLC, which controls the real estate on which the camp sits.
Six months ago, the future of All-Star Village was in question. The Daily Star reported in April that state Supreme Court Judge Kevin Dowd ordered the Patton-controlled management company for All-Star Village to be dissolved and for a court-appointed receiver to take charge of the operation.
Siding with Ferrara, Dowd said the operating agreement for All-star Village had been “blatantly flaunted” by the Pattons, who the judge said promoted their own food and lodging businesses above the interests of both Cooperstown All-Star Village and Cooperstown Capital. The Pattons are the owners of two Oneonta restaurants, Sabatini’s and Christopher’s.
However, an appeals court issued a stay on that ruling, allowing the Pattons to open the camp as scheduled June 9.
Patton said he and his wife are pleased to have the legal proceedings behind them so they can focus on their expansion efforts.