CourtUnited States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of New York
Citation592 F. Supp. 304
Docket NumberNo. 83-CV-102.,83-CV-102.
PartiesTIROLERLAND, INC., and Barbara Scsigulinsky, Individually and as Executrix of the Estate of Frank Scsigulinsky, Plaintiffs, v. LAKE PLACID 1980 OLYMPIC GAMES, INC.; Lake Placid Olympic Organizing Committee; Peter Spurney, J. Bernard Fell, William Kissel, Peter Roland, and James Brooks, all Individually and as Directors, Officers, Agents and/or Members of Lake Placid 1980 Olympic Games, Inc. and/or Lake Placid Olympic Organizing Committee; New York State Olympic Accommodations Control Corp.; Roger Tubby, and Millard J. Smith, Individually and as Directors, Officers and Agents of New York State Olympic Accommodations Control Corporation; William Hennessy, Individually and as Commissioner of Transportation of the State of New York, Defendants.
Decision Date28 June 1984



Wager, Taylor, Howd, Brearton & Kessler, Troy, N.Y., for plaintiffs; Michael W. Kessler, Troy, N.Y., of counsel.

Robert Abrams, Atty. Gen., State of N.Y., Albany, N.Y., for defendants N.Y. State Olympic Accommodations Control Corp., Tubby, Smith and Hennessy; John J. Pickett, Dennis McCabe, Asst. Attys. Gen., Albany, N.Y., of counsel.


MINER, District Judge.


This action arises out of an alleged taking of property without just compensation in violation of the fifth and fourteenth amendments to the United States Constitution. The action is brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and jurisdiction is predicated upon 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1343. Before the Court are motions by all defendants for summary judgment, Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(b).

A. Background

In the winter of 1980, a bonanza befell the small, upstate New York village of Lake Placid, when, after an absence of forty-eight years, the Winter Olympic Games ("Games" or "Olympics") returned. In spite of its name, the community was not merely a quiet or passive beneficiary of random good fortune. In 1954, twenty-two years after hosting the 1932 Winter Olympics, a small group of area residents began to mount a determined effort to bring the Games back to the United States and to Lake Placid. Over the course of the next twenty years, ten bids were presented to both the United States Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee. On October 27, 1974, the XIII Olympic Winter Games were awarded to the ambitious village nestled in the scenic surroundings of northern New York.

The logistics of accommodating the Games presented needs which were themselves of olympic proportions, and appropriate preparations were in order. An integral part of those preparations included ensuring the community's ability to house, in reasonable accommodations, what ultimately turned out to be 60,000 visitors, athletes, and officials. As part of the overall plan to provide housing facilities, New York State enacted into law Chapter 912 of the Laws of 1977 ("Chapter 912" or "statute"). Titled "AN ACT in relation to the regulation, control and stabilization of hotel, motel and other lodging accommodations available to the public during the XIII—1980 Olympic Winter Games at Lake Placid, New York," the statute provided in part, as follows:

The legislature hereby finds and determines that the conduct of the XIII olympic winter games at Lake Placid and the availability of hotel, motel and other lodging facilities to the general public, as well as to those persons required to be provided with lodging, or determined by the accommodations staff of the Lake Placid 1980 olympic games, inc., to be a matter of state concern and that an appropriate mechanism for the regulation, control and stabilization of rates for such lodging facilities is essential to insure proper conduct of the games.
To assure that the required facilities are available and ready for required olympic use during the olympic period and to further assure that the rates charged for such facilities are reasonably and properly regulated, controlled and stabilized, the legislature hereby finds and declares that there should be created a corporate governmental agency, constituting a public benefit corporation, to be known as the "Olympic Accommodations Control Corporation", which could undertake appropriate measures relating to lodging rates and be vested with a preferential right to provide for the acquisition and allocation of commercial lodging facilities during the olympic period to meet the requirements of the Lake Placid nineteen hundred eighty olympic organizing committee.

Chapter 912, § 1.

The statute created the defendant Olympic Accommodations Control Corporation ("OACC") for substantially two purposes: to regulate hotel and motel room rates during the Olympic period, Chapter 912, § 4(9), and to provide that hotel and motel accommodations were available for persons whose attendance was necessary for the conduct of the Games, Chapter 912, § 5. OACC was empowered to exercise a "preferential right of leasing" hotel and motel rooms in the Olympic region, id., although the statute provided for a release of the preferential right upon the granting by OACC of an application made by a motel owner, id.

The enactment and implementation of that statute provides the basis for plaintiffs' challenge here, a challenge which underscores, along with recent political events and our memories of the controversial Summer Olympics of 1980, the disheartening fact that the Games have strayed considerably from their ancient and once exalted stature.

B. The parties

1. Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Tirolerland, Inc., was the owner of the Tirolerland Motel and Restaurant located in the town of Jay, New York, eighteen miles from Lake Placid. Plaintiff Barbara Scsigulinsky, individually and as proposed executrix of the estate of Frank Scsigulinsky, was, with her late husband, a principal of Tirolerland, Inc. and a co-owner of the Swissaire Motor Lodge, also located in Jay, New York. Both motels went out of business following the Olympics, allegedly as a result of defendants' actions.

Plaintiffs' two motels contained a total of fifty-one guest rooms. Traditionally, plaintiffs opened their full fifty-one units only for the peak summer seaon, keeping only ten Tirolerland units open during the entire year. Swissaire was entirely closed during the winter months. For the month of February in the three years preceding the 1980 Games, plaintiffs had an average gross income of $1,938.00. The peak August figures for the same three year period showed an average gross income of approximately $15,257.00. By contrast, plaintiffs' gross receipts for the three week Olympic period totaled $38,349.04 at Tirolerland, and $32,648.72 at Swissaire. Affidavit of Mark Adler, ¶ 16.

2. Defendants

Described by plaintiffs as the "Olympic" defendants are the Lake Placid Olympic Organizing Committee ("LPOOC") and its alleged alter ego, Lake Placid 1980 Games, Inc., the entities which bid and undertook to run the 1980 Winter Olympic Games. Defendants Peter Spurney, J. Bernard Fell, William Kissel, Peter Roland, and James Brooks, were officers of the defendant organizations and allegedly played an active role in the acts here complained of. The remaining, or state defendants, include OACC and its officers, Messrs. Roger Tubby and Millard J. Smith. Finally, William Hennessy, New York State's Commissioner of Transportation, is also named as a defendant.1

C. The present claims

In January of 1979, OACC served plaintiffs, as well as other motel owners, with notices of intention to acquire all guest rooms at both Tirolerland and Swissaire. Soon thereafter, plaintiffs entered into various agreements with LPOOC and the Canadian Broadcasting Company ("CBC") consenting to rental of the rooms at a rate of $60.00 a day. The rental period encompassed a twenty-one day span from February 5, 1980 through February 25, 1980. Ultimately, plaintiffs were awarded an additional $5.00 for each guest room day.

The gravamen of plaintiffs' complaint is that the acts of defendants effected an unconstitutional taking of their property without just compensation. In more specific terms, the amended complaint sets forth four purportedly distinct causes of action. It alleges first that the defendants, acting pursuant to Chapter 912, did

appropriate, condemn, take, and convert to their own use, the property of the plaintiffs by preventing them from renting the motel rooms owned by plaintiffs to such persons and at such rates as the plaintiffs deemed appropriate and in fact such defendants required that the plaintiffs rent all the motel rooms operated by them, solely to persons selected by the defendants and at rates determined solely by the defendants substantially lower than rates which market conditions would otherwise dictate, without the consent and over the objection of the plaintiffs and without proper and reasonable and just compensation therefor.

Amended complaint, ¶ 39.2

As a second cause of action, the amended complaint alleges that the defendants intentionally closed the roads in the vicinity of Lake Placid, "thereby preventing access by the general public and would-be patrons of the plaintiffs' establishments," amended complaint, ¶ 51, and resulting in a taking without just compensation. The third and fourth causes of action are essentially reiterations of the first two, and no additional claims are therein raised.

All defendants have moved for summary judgment against the amended complaint based on a variety of legal theories. Because the Court finds that the challenged actions did not amount to an unconstitutional taking, it is unnecessary to reach defendants' other arguments.3


On motions for summary judgment, it is well established that the Court's function "is not to resolve issues of fact but to determine whether any material factual issues are raised after resolving all questionable inferences in favor of the party against whom the judgment is sought. Only if...

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