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Parking lot owner gives patrons the boot

A couple of hours at the Ugly Duckling in the village of Manlius turned into a night-long ordeal for the owners of two cars who parked in the lot behind the bar. When Matt Toner, 27, emerged from the bar at around 7 p.m. Thursday night, he found a boot on his tire. Parking lot owners G. Martin Brogan and Kathleen R. Brogan sat in cars blocking both entrances to the parking lot.

They sat in their cars for four hours, Toner said.

Martin Brogan, who did not return calls for comment Monday, had posted the lot as private and filed complaints of trespassing against the parkers with the Manlius Police Department. Trustee Tim Fox, who was at the scene Thursday night, said Brogan asked Toner to pay him $200 for the release of his car.

Police officers, village officials and business owners attempted in vain to negotiate a solution to the impasse, but in the end Toner headed home carless.

He was basically holding my car hostage, Toner said.

Town of Manlius Police, in consultation with the Onondaga County District Attorney's Office, arranged the cars' release Friday afternoon.

(After) the initial consult with them (the district attorney's office), we advised the owner of the lot to unboot the vehicles and return them, Captain Bill Bleyle said.

No charges against either the car owners or Brogan had been filed as of press time, though the matter is still under review by the district attorney's office.

Thursday night's standoff is the latest escalation in a rough relationship among Brogan, the village and neighboring business owners in the 200 and 300 blocks of East Seneca Street. In a letter to Mayor Rick Penhall dated March 25, the Brogans, who own Seneca Hall, 315 E. Seneca St., which abuts the lot at 106 Franklin St., expressed their frustration at illegal parking and trespassing on their property. The letter accused the village board and town police of failing to cooperate to address the issues.

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