The City of Troy, New York, "Where Henry Hudson Turned Around."

Thursday, March 31, 2005


R.J. Carignan & Company, a Troy insurance agency, has sued Mayor Harry Tutunjian and the City of Troy. The case has received little attention in the mainstream media. Why? That is hard to say. One reason may be that if the facts as alleged by Carignan are true, it does not paint a pretty picture of Troy's elected officials.

What's the case about? Yesterday I took a stroll to the courthouse and got a copy of the complaint.


Carignan has insured the city since the 1930's. During Troy's fiscal crisis of the 1990's, the city carried only fire insurance on real property owned by the city. When Mayor Pattison began to pull the city out of its financial crisis, the city sought to obtain insurance against catastrophic loss. Other, larger agencies were approached by the city but none would take the risk. Carignan once again stepped to the plate and went to bat for Troy.

Troy paid the bulk of its premiums to a Long Island insurance wholesaler who worked with Carignan to obtain low premiums. When Carignan had Troy's insurance up and running, the city put the procurement of its insurance out to bid annually. Each year Carignan responded with the lowest bid.

In 2004, Matt Petro, Carignan's owner, worked to reduce Troy's premiums for 2005. Petro plowed through open and unresolved claims. Petro was able to reevaluate the level of reserves and estimate of liability in consultation with Corporation Counsel's Office. Mr. Petro was able to reduce the number of open claims against the city by nearly two-thirds.

On November 4, 2004 Troy sent a Request for Quotations for liability insurance. Petro spent hours analyzing Troy's needs and ways in which premiums could be reduced. Prior to submitting their quote, Carignan learned that a Scotia agency had made inquiries about changing the city's Broker of Record. Petro asked the city whether they intended on changing brokers. The city, before December 9 (the date the 'bids' were to be received) gave no indication of any intent to change brokers. Therefore, Petro sent his bid to the city.

Due to Carignan's hard work and time, the quotes for insurance coverage reduced the city's premiums by between $51,000 and $65,000. This was the only quote received by Troy.

The city then took Carignan's work product and made a Scotia agency the Broker of Record. Then, concerned about the perception of taking the business out of Troy, the Scotia agency agreed to split the Carignan commission with Nicoll & MacChesney. Essentially, the Broker of Record letter denied Carignan the broker fee they had earned.

Then, Tutunjian trots out before the press and announces he had saved the city money by changing brokers.

There's more involved, of course, but those are the basic allegations. If you think it smells, you'd be right.


I don't know what all that means but it doesn't sound good. We'll leave the details to the lawyers and jury.

Let us proceed upon the belief that Carignan's allegations are true. First, I do not know if the city and Tutunjian can be sued for what they did. It may be that their actions are not...well...actionable. Maybe the city can act in a sleazy manner without any recourse for Carignan. We'll leave that, like we said, to the judge and jury.

Still, lets try an analogy. Like most analogies it isn't perfect, but we'll try.

Suppose you own a vehicle repair shop. A potential customer brings in his car. It's an old, unique automobile and parts will be hard to come by. You get on the phone and hours later you have tracked down the hard to find parts. You negotiate with those suppliers and are able to get the customer a good deal. The customer is happy and wants to know where you found the hard to find parts. You, being an honest, ethical man, tell the customer where you found the parts. You then give the customer an estimate and you know it's a good deal.

The customer thanks you and drives to another vehicle repair shop, supplies the owner with the information and soon the car is repaired. Then, the customer tells others that "I got to the point where it was clear that auto shops needed to be changed, particularly when the available savings became clear."

As the repair shop owner that originally located the parts and secured the deal, how would you feel? Cheated? Wronged? We would hope so. When you spoke to friends and explained the story, how would you characterize the customer? We thought so.

Now suppose you consulted a lawyer. The lawyer informs you that as mad as you are, the customer was within his rights to do what he did.

It may be that the facts as alleged by Carignan are wrong or there is more to the picture. It may be that Carignan is correct and will recover damages for the wrong. It may be that Carignan is correct, but there is no legal recourse for what was done by the city.

It's the last potentiality we want to discuss. Suppose Carignan is correct in all the facts but the city's actions are simply not actionable at law? What could one say about city officials who would do such a thing (steal a man's work to hand off to another)?

It is difficult to describe the slime that such public officials ooze if Carignan is correct. Stealing a man's work and giving it to another evidences serious character flaws. Who could trust these officials? Who would take the chance? Unlimited power always breeds arrogance, but it doesn't always breed such craven behavior. The people of Troy should hope the Carignan allegations prove false. If the allegations are true, then the Mayor will have lied to his constituents. If he knowingly lied, the Mayor should be removed from office. If he relied upon the advice of others, those people must be removed from office. It's that simple.



Scare the Mirch out of your friends and neighbors with costumes from the Troy Polloi Halloween Catalogue, the only costume catalogue devoted to the terrifying fiends and ghouls of Rensselaer County. Delivery guaranteed by November 8, 2005.

"Harry" Littlest Vampire

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The kids will scream and run from this little
bloodsucker. He'll drain your income through
tax hikes, slowly over time.


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Run, run away. Frankenmirch eats public
tax dollars and is never satisfied!

Witch DeAngelis

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Flee for your lives, guilty and
innocent, friend and foe alike
(and your little dog, too). She'll
do whatever it takes to climb the
political ladder.

The Mad Scientist

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"I'll build a hotel, tear down city hall, tear
down the jail, maybe bring in a destroyer,
Ha,Ha,Ha! I'm mad I tell you, mad!"

Dan the Hutt

"Hoo, hoo hoo! Me have you arrested!"

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


In a recent trip to City Hall, I couldn't help notice that the employee's lunchroom is in dire need of some renovations. We all know that Mayor Pattison cared little for anyone, but what about Harry? Why does Harry allow such a condition to exist. Water stains on the ceiling, a moldy, water-stained carpet, that smell! Simply unacceptable.

I did enjoy Mr. Crawley's office, or what I could see of it with the door ajar. I may be somewhat critical of Deputy Dan, but a man that likes the Yankees so much must have some decent qualities (or at least one).

Does Corporation Counsel David B. Mitchell tape his phone calls? That's what one ex-employee told the Troy Polloi. Imagine the paranoia. Some enterprising Democrat should FOIL those tapes. That could be interesting. Perhaps we could get a 'Best of Dave Mitchell' CD. A perfect Democratic fundraising tool.

Speaking of Corporation Counsel, word is that Harry is concerned about the RJ Carignan lawsuit. So much so that he's taken the defense away from Mitchell and is seeking outside counsel. After some inquiries, that's not such a bad move. The general consensus in the legal community is that Corporation Counsel's Office is no match for Joshua Sabo, attorney for Carignan.

Speaking of lawyers, DA Trish DeAngelis almost blew another one. Heckstall almost got a mistrial because chatty Trish can't follow Judge McGrath's rulings. We can't believe it, but it makes us long for the days of Ken Bruno.

Finally, some story ideas for The Record (once again):

1. Has Messick received the appropriate work permits for her home renovations?

2. Did David Mitchell receive unauthorized pay raises in 2004?

3. Was RJ Carignan & Co. bilked out of its commission?

4. Are Kathy Jimino and Mary Donohue the same person?

5. Will more Record reporters go to work for the Republicans?

Friday, March 25, 2005


The Troy Polloi* is now almost a month old. It only seems fitting to thank our readers and Mr. O'Brien.

As expected, The Troy Polloi received a modest amount of hits when it was first published (5-8 a day). After Mr. O'Brien's column, we are receiving 60+ hits a day. Thanks again Tim.

And to our readers: thanks for visiting and leaving comments. It is true that certain of the comments are less than flattering. Believe it or not, that is fine with the editors. Unlike a certain dominant political party in the area, we are not threatened or upset by dissent. Dissent is a good, American value. You will not be banned and your comments will not be deleted if they are critical. Plus, we get a kick out of them.

However, they may receive a response.

For instance, Kelly (who appears to work for Rensselaer County, tsk, tsk Kelly, get back to work) pointed out that we misspelled Lansingburgh as Lansingburg. Unfortunately, Kelly must have forgotten her history. Up until the late 1800's, both spellings were commonly used. In fact, books about Lansingburgh published in the mid-1800's used the name 'Lansingburg'. The 1892 Introduction to Melville's Typee** notes that the author lived in Lansingburg. Conversely, there is early American currency from 1792 that used the name 'Lansingburgh'.

Thus, the ballplayers, born in the mid-1800's, were born in Lansingburg, not Lansingburgh. At least that is what their birth certificates say (check with the Hall of Fame Research and Records Dept.) Be that as it may, I hereby enclose for Kelly a slew of h's (hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh) which she may use at her convenience.

And Kelly, you misspelled 'idiot'.

Thanks for making the Troy Polloi a success.

* For Republicans, polloi is Greek for 'many'.
** Melville was an author, or a writer of books. Typee was one of his books.

Thursday, March 24, 2005


In a letter to the Troy Record this week, someone alleging to be a Troy City Councilman threw some pretty tough punches at Councilman Bill Dunne. The issue, once again, is the Rensselaer County Jail.

The alleged council member criticized Dunne for talking to the press, suggesting the jail might not need expansion and for believing that the waterfront might be better utilized for commercial/recreational purposes rather than public sector/industrial purposes.

Finally, the AC (alleged council member) indicated he would vote to allow Dunne's proposal to be voted on by the council and he (the AC) would be voting "NO"! on the proposal.

This council member has shown real guts in taking on Dunne. With no support, other than six other Republican councilmen, a Republican City Hall, a Republican Sheriff's Department, a Republican County Executive and a Republican County Legislature, taking on the lone Democrat will be a tough job.

There's only one problem: who is this guy? No one has heard of him. Is he really on the Troy City Council?* I hope he is because Troy needs tough, gutsy leadership like this.

* Rumor has it that the City of Troy Charter will soon be amended, changing the name of the Troy City Council to "The Mayor's non-binding Advisory Board". The name, "A bunch of people who grab their ankles for the mayor" was rejected by a 5-4 vote.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


With April fast approaching, it's time to take a break from our 'Fair and Balanced' political reporting to talk about something far more important: Baseball.

Most Trojans know that Hall of Famer Johnny Evers (of the famed Tinkers to Evers to Chance trio) was born in Troy, New York. They even know that Troy, NY was once the home of a professional baseball team. What many may not know is that the Collar City played host to not one, but two baseball franchises.

The Haymakers

The Troy Haymakers played in the National Association (a sort of embryonic National League) in 1871-1872. In '71 they compiled a 13-15 record. In '72, a 15-10 record.

A number of Haymakers were Troy born.

William 'Clipper' Flynn (1B) was born in Lansingburg on April 29, 1849. He died in Lansingburg on November 11, 1881.

Bill H. Craver (2B) was born in Troy, June 1844. He died on June 17, 1901 in Troy.

Outfielder Steve King was born in Troy in 1842. He died, in Troy, on July 8, 1895.

Edward Beavens (Position unknown), was born in Troy in 1848.

Michael James McAtee (1B) was born in Troy, March 1845 and died in Troy on October 18, 1876.

Marshall Ney King (Position unknown) was born in Troy in December 1849 and died in Troy on October 19, 1911.

The team played at the Haymakers' Grounds.

The Trojans

The Troy Trojans played in the National League for four years, 1879 - 1882. Basically, they sucked. Their best year was 1880 when they went 41 - 42. They were 134 - 191 for the entire four years.

The team played in three parks in four years. They started out playing at the Putnam Grounds. For the next two seasons they played at Haymakers' Grounds. In their final year they played at Troy Ball Clubs Grounds.*

Two players were from Troy. Mike Lawlor (Position unknown), was born on March 11, 1845 and died August 13, 1918.

Charles 'Fatty' Briody was born in Lansingburg** on August 13, 1858. He died in Chicago in 1903.

Despite the team's lackluster performance,*** there were a few bright spots. The Troy Trojans had three future Hall of Famers on their roster; Buck Ewing, Dan Brouthers and Roger Connor.

Connor's story is interesting. When his contract was purchased by the Troy Trojans, Connor came to Troy and was sent to a local shirt company to be fitted for a uniform. The young lady that fitted him for the uniform was quite knowledgeable about baseball. It was a classic story of girl meets baseball player. The two were later married. The couple lost a baby girl just before her first birthday. Then, the Connor's adopted a child that had been abandoned on a doorstep. An excellent article by Bernard Crowley, Baseball's First Stars goes into more detail about Connor and his life.

Roger Connor

* Any information about these parks would be welcome. This site gives the location of the various fields but I cannot vouch for its accuracy. I did read somewhere that the field on Center Island was so pressed for space that a portion of the outfield was actually built of wood and extended past the shore line.

** Lansingburg is a client municipality of Troy

*** The public was mindful of the team's ability. In one game against the Chicago Whitestockings the Trojans set a record for poorest attendance. Twelve people watched the game.

Monday, March 21, 2005


In 1992 the then owners of 193 Second Street proposed to convert that location (the former Italian Community Center) into a three dwelling unit. The plan was submitted to the Troy Planning Commission and approved, subject to the issuance of a Bureau of Code Enforcement Permit. According to the work permit issued, the premises was listed as vacant. However, no work was done and the permit expired six months later.

Councilwoman Messick and her alleged fiance purchased 191 Second Street in 1992. Then, in 1995, they purchased 193 Second Street. Messick claims that the previous owners (of 193) were residing there at the time Messick moved into 191 (1992).

However, the former owners claim that no one ever resided at 193 while they owned the building. When it was purchased by the former owners, the building was partially gutted, without plumbing, heating and electricity. The only access to the second floor was by way of a ladder. The building, according to the former owners, was in the same condition when sold to Messick.

Messick received numerous Notice of Violation letters from the City of Troy Bureau of Code Enforcement (or Boce). Some of these may have been sent to her prior to the purchase of 193 Second Street. The date Messick purchased 193 seems to be in dispute.

However, Messick did own 193 Second Street in March of 1998. On the 18 of March, 193 Second Street was inspected by Code Enforcement. On the 19th, Principal Code Inspector Terry DuBois informed Ms. Messick that she had failed to obtain the required work permit prior to construction, alteration, demolition of change of use. She was ordered to "STOP ANY WORK in progress..." Thankfully, no one was hurt during the walkthrough.

Ms. Messick must have ignored the Notice because eight days later a similar letter was sent to her by Mr. DuBois.

Ms. Messick wrote to Mr. DuBois on April 2, 1998:

I am writing in regards to the letters you sent us concerning 191 and 193 Second Street Troy NY. We purchased 191 Second St. in late 1992 and obtained a mortgage at that time and it became our personal residence. We did not purchase 193 Second St. until aprox. 1995, 3 years later, from the Woods our next door neighbors and we got a mortgage at that time. I don't know ho they got it from or how long they had it but they were living there when we moved in to 191 Second. We purchased 191 from a company comprised of several doctors and I don't know how long they owned it.*

What's wrong with this response to alleged code violations? Apart from run-on sentences, it fails to address the issue of obtaining a work permit. Was a work permit ever obtained? Also, the renovations seemed to take a long time. Did Ms. Messick consider retaining a new contractor?

As of March 2, 2004, a work permit and a Certificate of Occupancy had not been obtained by Ms. Messick or the alleged fiance. Terry DuBois once again contacted Ms. Messick. Another inspection was done and several issues were raised.

191 Second Street needed smoke detectors in a variety of rooms. As for 193, numerous issued were raised, some fire-safety related. Once more, Messick was told to purchase the appropriate work permits.

Now Deputy Dan (Crawley) seems very concerned about fires. For Deputy Dan, Mr. Cox's property was a potential fire hazard as was Perlman's Auto Service (See The Record, March 4, 2004 'Business Owner, Action Team at odds' by Kate Perry).

The good people of Troy should have answers to the following questions:

1. Did Ms. Messick purchase the appropriate work permits;

2. If not, has she been fined or 'locked out' of the building;

3. If not, why not;

4. Does it have anything to do with the fact she is a Republican City Council member;

6. If Cox or the owner of Perlman's had been Republican City Council members, would they have been shut down.

7. What is the name of the contractor (he seems to take his sweet time and we wouldn't want others to hire him).

Maybe Ms. Messick has complied. Let us know. We'll certainly update this story. However, if she hasn't, and 191-193 Second Street is fire hazard, perhaps the Action Team needs to be put on high alert and dispatched to the hazard.

Ms. Messick should feel free to respond. We'll print the response in full (except for the profanity).

As an aside, I think the City of Troy would be well served if a SWAT-like vehicle was purchased for the Action Team. Images of Mr. Mirch and Mr. Crawley propelling down from the roof of 191 Second Street, crashing through windows, simply dance through my head.

Remember, this issue was alive and well when Ms. Messick ran for City Council. How can one make the laws and ordinances of the city when they can't follow them. It didn't seem to bother anyone at the time. Messick ran and won. Maybe there are two tiers of justice in this area, one for public "servants" and one for the rest of you.

Artist's rendering of Troy Action Team entering
191-193 Second Street

* Copies of documents courtesy of a friend at City Hall who wishes to remain anonymous

Friday, March 18, 2005


A debate about the future of the Rensselaer County Jail has begun. City Councilman William Dunne (Dist. 4) wants the jail moved, believing it to be a waste of prime waterfront property. He'd like to see a Labor museum at that location. Troy was a key player in the industrial revolution and organized labor. A place honoring that history is a fine idea.

Sheriff Mahar wants the jail expanded and wishes it to remain sedentary. Mahar makes the point (a good one) that moving the jail would be an expensive undertaking.

Both men are right and both are wrong. Perhaps there is a compromise.

The jail cannot be moved. It's very heavy. It probably weighs well over 2000 lbs. It probably can't even be lifted, even if a whole bunch of guys helped. Still, it's a damn shame that prisoners get to live so close to the water.

Perhaps, and this is just a thought, the jail could be converted to a riverside bed & breakfast (maybe Up the River) with a jail theme and cells going for $150-$250 a night. The prisoners could be the staff, helping to work off their debt to society.

It's just a thought.


We are proud to announce that The Troy Polloi received some lovin' from Tim O'Brien in yesterday's Times Union. Mr. O'Brien is a fine journalist with a keen eye for brilliant satire. Thanks Mr. O'Brien.

PS Tim, there's nothing wrong with facial hair, especially if it's your rugged, Keith Hernandez-type look. There's also nothing wrong with Peter Sellers. Both Sellers and Mirch are funny men, one intentionally so.

A Republican Blog would fill a much needed gap.

Thursday, March 17, 2005


The Rensselaer County District Attorney's Office finally nailed Public Enemy #1, used auto parts dealer Jack Cox. Cox faces 2 and 1/3 to 8 years in prison. Whew! Troy's long nightmare is over.

It's ironic that men sucking at the public teat seem to take such pleasure in closing down those in the private sector. Deputy Dan (Crawley) had to open his mouth and say:

"Hopefully there is not a fire and nothing happens until we get the court decision and we can get the place cleaned up."

Anybody ever drive by Crawley's former house in Brunswick? Crawley should have been fined for that eye sore. How is this guy going to clean up Troy when he couldn't keep his own property clean? It looked like the Clampett's had set up camp.

Deputy Dan, moving to Troy

And what about Naz's Body Shop? What's that, the Pearl of Route 7? That's been an eye sore forever.

Yes, Cox should play by the rules. He's a big boy. But the Harry Administration should play by the rules also. Why hasn't the media focused on the raises received by David Mitchell last year. Mitchell received at least one and maybe three raises not approved of by the City Council (or should we say, the Mayor's Advisory Board?)

Come on Troy Record and Times Union. There's a story there just waiting to be discovered.

Sunday, March 13, 2005


It's been a slow news week in Troy, New York. Everyone must be on vacation. Neither the City Code or City Charter has been violated. Also, the Appellate Division did not hand down any decisions critical of the District Attorneys Office. We can only assume Republicans are all on vacation.

The only real news this week was the re-zoning of Route 7 (Hoosick Street). The idea that Hoosick Street might one day rival Wolf Road seems a tad 'Pie-in-the-sky' for the Troy Polloi but why not give it a shot.

Better still, why not develope the waterfront? If anything will revitalize cities like Troy, it is their waterfronts.

Friday, March 04, 2005


When talking about Republicans in Troy that is sometimes a difficult question to answer (see Times Union, Sunday, February 20th 2005).

Tom Casey is a Troy Fireman (a noble profession). David Mitchell is City of Troy Corporation Counsel (enough said). Casey is slated to be the head of the Republican Committee in Troy but had questions about a possible conflict. You see, city party officers are not supposed to be city employees.

Casey says he received the OK from Mitchell. Mitchell says he did not speak to Casey about the issue. Essentially, Mitchell is calling Casey a liar. Obviously, someone's lying. Is it Mitchell or Casey? It must be rather embarassing for the Republicans. Either their Corporation Counsel is lying or their City Chair.

One has to wonder why Mitchell would call Casey a liar in any event. He could have said, "Mr. Casey is mistaken," or "Mr. Casey is confused." Instead he opted to call him a liar. Interesting.

As an aside, wasn't it Mitchell who authored an amendment to Public Officers Law that would prevent the city from defending and indemnifying city employees for the mere allegation of intentional wrongdoing (including defamation). Boy, that could have come back to bite him on the ass.

Now, for the answer to Mr. Casey's question. It's hard to find, being hidden in that rarely followed document known as "CODE OF THE CITY OF TROY, NEW YORK" (Sec 43-6).


POLITICAL PARTY OFFICER -- Any person serving or acting as the Chair, Vice Chair, First Vice Chair, Secretary, Treasurer or equivalent officers by whatever name or title known of any political party or committee organized for the purpose of nominating persons for elective office in the government of the City of Troy.


No political party officer shall be employed by the City of Troy. Any offer of employment with the City which is tendered to a person who is a political party officer shall be made in writing and shall contain a requirement that resignation from such political party office is a condition precedent to the effectiveness of such offer of employment. Prior to commencement of such employment, the appointing authority must file a copy of such offer of employment together with a copy of such letter of resignation from party office with the City Clerk.

Come on guys, it's just not that difficult.

It's rather humorous. If Mitchell gave Casey the advice, he's lying and he's wrong. If Casey didn't speak with Mitchell about this issue, he really should speak with someone about the obvious illegality of holding both positions simultaneously.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005


Welcome to Word on the Street, where The Troy Polloi trades in rumor and innuendo. These rumors and opinions do not reflect the rumors or opinions of the management of The Troy Polloi. So, without further ado....


By Huggy Bear

Word on the Street is.....

Councilman Bob Krogh and a friend won $64,000 in a thousand dollar a square Super Bowl pool. The rumor was overheard in an area watering hole. If true, congrats Bob and remember, income from gambling does not need to be reported to the IRS. Trust Huggy Bear.

Word on the Street is....

Councilwoman Karen Messick isn't running for re-election and local Republicans are not shedding any tears. As one local Republican put it, "I liked Karen a lot until I got to know her." The Huggy Bear wonders if her decision has anything to do with the allegations about Messick not having the appropriate permits, etc. for her home renovations.

Word on the Street is....

People are wondering about the whereabouts of Walt VanDeLoo. According to our sources, former City Engineer Walt VanDeLoo is now city engineer for Baghdad. Good luck Walt.