The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Local News

September 28, 2010

Party, arrests lead to city review of ADO status

ONEONTA _ City police busted two large college parties this weekend, including one at a fraternity house that only days earlier received approval from the Common Council for a special use permit.

Police patrolling the Center City area at about 10:30 p.m. Friday heard a loud party at the Alpha Delta Omega house at 62 Elm St., Lt. Dennis Nayor said.

ADO is a fraternity of Hartwick College students, but it is not recognized by the college.

The police investigation revealed that about 250 people crammed into the house, many in the basement, Nayor said.

Six fraternity brothers who live at the house were arrested.

A second party Saturday night on Cedar Street resulted in the arrest of two State University College at Oneonta students. The party at 36 Cedar St., which was not hosted by a Greek group, had about 170 people, Nayor said.

Mayor Dick Miller scheduled a special meeting for 7 tonight to consider the revocation of the permit issued to ADO. The city requires the permits for fraternity and sorority houses. The permits allow for more than three unrelated people to share a residence and set safety standards for the Greek groups.

The party was one of the larger ones seen so far this semester, Nayor said. It appears the fraternity was charging $5 for admission and empty beer kegs and an alcoholic punch were found at the house, he said.

Fourteen of the 16 smoke detectors at the home were covered up and blocked, he said.

"The floors were slippery from alcohol and liquids. There were people there underage," Nayor said. "There were several factors that made this a safety issue."

Those charged at 62 Elm St. with second-degree criminal nuisance, first-degree unlawfully dealing with a child and prohibited sale of alcohol and released on appearance tickets include Ryan Lertora, 21, of Northport; Stephen Walling, 20, of Bedford, Mass.; Andrew Angus, 21, of Westport, Conn.; Martin Hawkins, 21, of Cary, N.C.; Jared Jones, 21, of Mayfield; and John C. Bauerle, 20, of Hillsdale, N.J.

Miller said he was outraged about the alleged offenses.

"This was a flagrant violation of the code and the law," Miller said. "There was nothing about this situation that was at the margins."

ADO ran afoul of the city code in January 2009 when the group had its permit suspended for covering smoke alarms that are "hard-wired" to the Oneonta Public Safety Building. The group was also admonished last year by the college for a hazing incident.

"That had been considered to be in the past," Miller said.

If the permit is revoked, the city would move to evict those found to be over-occupying the home, which is owned by ADO.

The fraternity of Hartwick College students is not a recognized group at the school, Hartwick spokesman James Jolly said in an e-mail last week.

"When we receive notice that individuals/students are ticketed or arrested off campus we hold them accountable to our Code of Student Conduct policies," Jolly said in an e-mail Monday to The Daily Star. "We do have space on campus to house students if needed."

Two residents of the ADO house, who did not wish to be identified, said they wanted to speak to an attorney before making any public comment about the charges or the possible revocation of their permit.

Miller said the fraternity's status at the school has no bearing on the city's dealings with it.

"The permit is between the organization and the city," Miller said. The Common Council approved the permit last Tuesday.

Two SUNY Oneonta students were arrested at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday in connection with a party at 36 Cedar St.

Bruce M. Wemple, 20, of Delmar, and Nathan C. Vandeusen, 20, of Spencerport, were charged with second-degree criminal nuisance, first-degree unlawfully dealing with a child, noise and prohibited sale of alcohol.

Vandeusen also faces a charge of second-degree obstructing governmental administration for attempting to block police access to the party, Nayor said.

The house is owned by CJ Realty of N.Y., which is based in Lake Ariel, Pa., according to the Otsego County Office of Real Property.

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