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Don't know if you saw this e:libertad
Coffee shop owner gets 4 to 12 years for insurance arson
News Staff Reporter
Updated: September 08, 2009, 5:04 PM
Former Buffalo coffee shop owner Lon Coldiron, still proclaiming his innocence, today was ordered to spend the next four to 12 years in state prison for setting fire to the building in a bid to collect insurance money.
Coldiron also was ordered to pay $250,000 in restitution to the insurance company for what Erie County Judge Thomas P. Franczyk called his "terribly selfish" crime.
Coldiron, 43, was convicted by a jury July 27 of third-degree arson and attempted grand larceny for the Oct. 21, 2004, fire that destroyed his "Coffee &" shop and the three-story building it was in at 718 Elmwood Ave.
The judge denounced him for the "orchestrated" fire he falsely thought could generate insurance payments on his money-losing business.
It was Coldiron's second trial in connection with the fire. He was spared a jail term when an Erie County Court jury three years ago convicted him only of attempted grand larceny. However, an appellate court set aside that conviction and ordered a second trial because of juror misconduct in the first trial.
After Coldiron today insisted that "I'm still innocent and someday it will come out," Franczyk denounced him for the insurance ploy that prosecutors showed took place while his coffee shop was losing money and he was still gambling at nearby casinos "like a drunken sailor."
The judge also faulted him for causing damage to adjoining structures and putting Buffalo firefighters at risk in dealing with the early-morning arson five years ago. Franczyk also ordered him to repay Travelers Insurance Co. the $250,000 it paid the owner of the building destroyed in the arson.
John K. Jordan, Coldiron's attorney, said the conviction will be appealed.
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