Judge is reviewing jury’s decision on Keuka Maid

Mary Perham
The Keuka Maid on Nov. 1, 2010, when a crew was attempting to beach it in Penn Yan.

A legal decision is pending after a six-person jury recently decided the aging tour boat, The Keuka Maid, is a squatter.

Urbana Town Attorney John Ryan said the jury’s decision is now under review by the judge, who is looking at a two-year-old order between the town and Keuka Maid Inc.

The May 2010 order stated the Keuka Maid was an “intruder” and awarded the town possession of the area of the park and dock now used to moor the once-popular tour boat, Ryan said.

Both sides in the dispute have until Aug. 6 to give the judge their arguments, with the judge expected to rule on Aug. 10. Depending on the decision, the matter could then be appealed to the Steuben Court, Ryan said.

The location of the boat has been the subject of a number of lawsuits and appeals, going back to the fall of 2006, when the three-story Keuka Maid was ordered to stay in port because it did not meet federal safety standards.

The boat’s owner, Robert Pfuntner and the Urbana Town Board have been at odds since then about the boat’s fate, which has a history of sinking near shore.

In addition, Pfuntner tangled with the Town of Milo and Yates County Sheriff’s Office officials when he looked for permits to move the boat there, later unsuccessfully trying to ground the tour boat near his property on Lake Street. On Nov. 1 2010, the boat ran aground as it approached shore in Penn Yan, and Yates County Sheriff Office navigation officials ordered the craft away from the Keuka Outlet.

The latest legal issue comes after Urbana officials condemned the boat last year as a part of eviction proceedings.