Tivoli dock case dismissed in court

The three-year-old case brought by the village of Tivoli against Tivoli Sailing Company owner Jerome Hollick was dismissed in Red Hook town court on June 5.

Citing the “will of the people of Tivoli,” Judge Jeffrey C. Martin dismissed the case at the village’s request because Tivoli workers had demolished the Hudson River dock on April 17.

Hollick’s attorney, Brian Higbie, with Hollick at his side, accepted the dismissal of what was a building code violation misdemeanor charge involving the legality of the dock on village property. But he requested that the judge note the dismissal was “with prejudice,” which means the charges cannot be brought up again by the village.

The courtroom buzzed with excitement before court began. More than 15 friends and sailing school students were there to offer Hollick their encouragement and support. After the proceedings, they gathered outside the courtroom to congratulate him.

“We are exploring multiple actions against [the village of Tivoli],” Higbie told the crowd. “Now that Jerome has been cleared of any wrongdoing, there’s the big question about how his rights have been violated.”

Hollick had run his sailing operations from the small wooden dock at the end of Friendship Street since 2000. But since 2012, the village had maintained that the dock was an insurance liability and demanded it be removed. Hollick refused because of his long-time use of the site, so the village took him to court for repairing the dock without a permit, a misdemeanor. Instead of waiting for the outcome of the court case, the village tore down the dock without warning April 17.

In a prepared statement, Hollick thanked his supporters and spoke of the future.

“I am pleased that justice was done in this case,” Hollick said. “It is sad that the village…denied me my constitutional right to a notice and a hearing. I will explore, with my attorney…how I should proceed to assert my rights.”

Hollick said he did not understand why the village claimed the dock was a liability for them, since the village was insured under his own policy.

“What I didn’t do was get it in writing that they would promise not to tear my dock down,” Hollick said. “It was all verbal. They said they would give me plenty of notice before they would tear it down.”

Hollick also told the Observer that he intends to continue picking up sailing students at the Tivoli shoreline with a motor launch he recently purchased.

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