In the suit, Sgt. Brian Owens, an eight-year veteran of the city Police Department, claims the city owes him holiday pay, longevity pay and his uniform allowance from February 2003 to July 2004, the time he served as captain of a unit of Army Reservists in Iraq.The lawsuit does not specify a dollar amount, but the total allegedly being withheld is estimated to be less than $2,000.
The Times Union ran a similar story. In the Times Union story, we are treated to Corporation Counsel David Mitchell's brilliant legal analysis and trademark sense of humor:
"What he is required to do is file a grievance with my office," said David Mitchell, the city's attorney. "I investigate it. Why he is making a quote-unquote 'federal case' out of this, I have no idea."
Mitchell, of course is literally correct. Owens is making a Federal case out of it. Mitchell is also using the phrase "Federal case" figuratively: Owens is making a big deal about a small issue, a mountain out of a mole hill.
It's difficult to piece together what is happening in the Owens matter. Was Bauer handling the matter? Was Bauer pulled from the case? With this administration, who the hell knows? However, if Bauer was pulled from the Owens matter that explains why it has made the paper. Bauer would have had this mess cleaned up before it made anyone look bad.
Still, $1,300 does seem too small an amount to get the courts involved. Lawsuits should be reserved for bigger, legitimate claims. What kind of claims, you ask? Pull up a chair and we'll tell you a story.
Once upon a time (the year 2000), two brothers owned an establishment called Zachary's Barbeque. One weekend, the evil mayor of the town closed the street where Zachary's was located. The street was closed for an annual parade. Angered at such an act, the two brothers brought a lawsuit against the evil mayor for lost profits in the amount of $50 million. One of the brothers was....you guessed it! Our very own, David Mitchell.
Meanwhile, in a bizarre twist, village of Lake George Mayor Robert Blais revealed this week his municipality is named in a lawsuit filed by David and Joseph Mitchell. The suit seeks $50 million in lost profits allegedly occurring on the weekend of Sept. 10, 1999. According to the papers, filed Dec. 10, part of the public highway known as Canada Street was blocked to exclude the public from the Mitchell's business, Zachary's Barbeque. Blais said the weekend event was an antique car parade, whose route has remained unchanged for years and simply does not pass that end of Canada Street.
Wow! That is a huge profit for one weekend. Why would anyone leave a business that made a profit of $50,000,000 over one weekend. Hell, we'd open for one week and then retire.
And that's one to grow on.
In related news, Council members Dunne and Mahoney will introduce a resolution thanking Sgt. Owens for his service and awarding him the $1,300 he is owed from the city.