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

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Before we delve into Bauer's ethical transgressions, we need to know a bit about the Commission on Judicial Conduct. What right does the commission have in disciplining and/or removing an elected judge.

Oddly enough, the Commission was created by a group of renegade lawyers that enjoys overturning the "will of the people". There is not a single statute, rule, regulation that allows for the Commission to discipline or remove anybody. They just do it from time to time for the hell of it.

Actually, the Commission itself was created by the "will of the people". The Commission's authority derives from Article VI, Section 22, of the Constitution of the State of New York, which was went into effect in April 1978 after overwhelming approval in the November 1977 election.

Alright, we've just established that the people wanted someone to keep an eye on our judges. But just who are these commissioners? From what bastion of leftism do they come?

There are eleven commissioners. Four are appointed by the Governor; one each by the legislature's majority and minority leaders and three by the chief Justice of the Court of Appeals. The terms are for four years so Republican appointees control the Commission. They have for quite some time.

That's not to say the Commission is political, or more accurately, partisan. We think all knowledgeable people would agree that the Commission executes its duties in a professional manner. We just want some of the ignorant to know the facts, not that it'll stop them. For instance:

"I take exception with the fact that we have a commission made up of non-residents of our city and county who don't experience what is happening on our streets on a day-to-day basis," said at-large City Councilman Robert Armet, who voted in support of Bauer in an 8-1 City Council resolution last month. "I could honestly understand if there was an outpouring of complaints against Bauer, but I've never heard a single negative comment about him from anyone," Armet added.

Yes, Bob, it's just the New York State Constitution. You wouldn't want to uphold that silly little document. If you don't like it, start pounding the pavement for a new Constitutional Convention. Also, just because no one took a complaint about a Republican judge to a Republican Councilman doesn't mean that there weren't complaints. Can he be that obtuse, or is it just his cover?

Then, of course, there's the Ignoramus-in-Chief:

"I think it is a terrible day in the city of Troy that a liberal commission in New York City goes against the will of the people of this city," said county Legislator Bob Mirch. "Hank Bauer is a good judge, a good person, a good family man and he did what was best for our city by being tough on the New York City drug dealers and because of that, today he paid the price."

Bobby, Bobby, Bobby. The Commission has offices in NYC, Albany and Rochester. At a glance, at least three of the commissioners are from this area. As for liberal? Yes, especially the Pataki and Bruno appointees. They are all liberal.

Which members are liberal? Even if they are "liberal", liberals like to see criminals go to jail as much as the next person. Lets kill two canards (that means lies, Bobby). Mirch probably can't even name any members of the Commission. As for soft on crime liberals, isn't it Republicans that want to see Sweeney Jr. get off scott free? Wasn't it Republican appointees that believed Mary Beth Anslow should be released early, despite the death of an innocent infant? Didn't the County back that decision?

If you can't grasp the actual issues in play with Bauer and the Commission, you're just talking out your Mirch. But then, Republicans never let facts get in the way before.

So, Commission on Judicial Conduct: most of the commissioners are Republican appointees and the people of the State of New York wanted the Commission.

That does away with those silly arguments.

Monday, June 27, 2005


"In Grafton did Kenny B, a stately pleasure dome decree...." - Samuel Coleridge

It looks like two local reporters, Michele Bolton and Bob Port, have committed the unforgivable crime of...."investigatory journalism." We refer to the stories that appeared in Thursday's Times Union about a Bruno-to-Bruno money deal, whereby Bruno gave Bruno a gift that then became a loan so Bruno could repay Bruno the loan that was a gift when Bruno divorced his wife so Bruno didn't have to be deposed.....At the end of the story I wasn't sure if Bruno gave the money to Bruno or vice-versa, but I do know I wouldn't cash a check for either one of them.

It's an intriguing story and we have a feeling there's more to come. We'd like to commend the writers for going beyond press release journalism.

Since the article is there for all to read we won't rehash the facts. We will raise certain points and perhaps speculate (we know, we know, if we speculate too much we'll grow hair on our palms and go blind).

1. How does one build a 5,000 square foot house on waterfront property with a loan of less than $340,000? The property and house have to be worth more than $800,000 and that's a conservative estimate. Was this done through one of those real estate infomercial programs? If so, which one?

2. How did Ken Bruno become $600,000+ in debt? Just curious? A Pokemon Card habit?

3. Did the contractor(s) who built his stately pleasure dome have any involvment in building Joe Bruno Stadium?

4. Did the cost of this entire project include landscaping? The aerial shot in the TU shows some pretty bad landscaping. Ken should get some money back for that.

5. When did First Niagara begin this great loan program? Why haven't they advertised? "Credit problems? Delinquent on mortgage payments? Don't worry. Come on down and get a $50,000 unsecured loan at 5%." Is this available to everyone?

6. Why isn't the ex-Mrs. Bruno getting her share? What's the holdup? Just take out another loan.

Now, Republicans will run to their defense. We know this because that is what partisans do. We know it probably won't happen but we hope the man or woman who is a Republican and works two jobs just to make ends meet finally realizes that this is how their masters live. Men of the people.

And just to show we aren't complete partisan hacks, the most memorable quote in the article comes from a Democrat:

The ranking minority member of the Senate Ethics Committee also refused to discuss ethics rules, refused to discuss past ethics cases and refused to discuss any hypothetical questions.

"We don't talk about ethics," said Sen. William Stachkowski, D-Buffalo, the ranking minority member on the committee. "Everything we do is secret."

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Friday, June 24, 2005



The kids are out of school and many parents are looking for activities to keep the kinder busy. Since euthanasia is still illegal, your options are limited. Never fear, The Troy Polloi is here.

Kids, try and match the hair to the appropriate Troy official.

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B.Image hosted by 2.Image hosted by

C. Image hosted by 3.Image hosted by

D. Image hosted by 4. Image hosted by
D1. Image hosted by *

E.Image hosted by ** 5.

F. Image hosted by ***

Have fun, mixing and matching.

Next week, we'll talk about Brunopoly and the return of investigative journalism to Rensselaer County.

* Bonus Mustache question
** Trick Question #1
*** Trick Question #2 Ms. Collier's face does not appear in the quiz.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Unlike a good Petrus or Pomeral, our Rensselaer County District Attorney has not matured well. As a young prosecutor in 1997, under then DA Ken Bruno, DeAngelis handled People v. Gorghan. The result in this case has ultimately become a pattern for DeAngelis as she heads into her twilight years. A reversal from the Appellate Division for the prosecutor's conduct.

DeAngelis graduated from law school in 1994. She was only three years out at the time. Young prosecutors can be overzealous and can make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes.

We contacted our legal department to see if she (our legal department) could do some research. Legal got back to us within a few hours. Her research was not exhaustive and we don't vouch that it's 100% accurate. Feel free to follow-up if you know of any cases reversed due to prosecutorial misconduct under any district attorney.

Between 1985 and 2005 (June), Rensselaer County has had five District Attorneys: James Canfield, Lou Catone, Mary Donohue, Ken Bruno and Patricia DeAngelis. During that same time period, four convictions have been overturned for, at least in part, prosecutorial misconduct.

One incident occurred under Mary Donohue. The remainder all involved Trish DeAngelis, either as the prosecuting attorney (Gorghan) or under her leadership.*

So, in the past twenty years, DeAngelis is involved in 75% of conviction reversals due to prosecutorial misconduct. Why didn't the other DA's have this problem?

Here's our very first Troy Polloi pie chart:

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That's a lot of pie.

Rensselaer County deserves a district attorney that wants to fight crime and not showboat in the courtroom.

*People v Gorghan, People v Allen and People v Levandowski

Monday, June 20, 2005


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By John Houseman

Due to recent tensions between Troy Polloi management and Huggybear, Mr. John Houseman will temporarily write for Word on the Street. As for Huggybear's allegations, we expect to be fully vindicated.

Two of our own, soon-to-be-former City Councilwoman Karen Messick and her fiance, Peter LaRocca are bidding farewell to Troy's tawny Washington Park neighborhood and heading for the sand, surf and rum of the .....Dominican Republic?

First, it was Scat Sweeney and Hot Lips Barton cutting it up in Rio; then Fielding Melish leading the rebel cause in San Marco; followed soon after by Dr. Sheldon Kornpett and his future in-law, Vince Ricardo saving our country.

While we wish them all the best in their ex-patriotism, it is curious that those so committed to Troy and its future would flee to foreign shores. After all, they renovated (albeit illegally) two buildings on Washington Park and ran the apparently successful Historic Home Supply on River Street, not to mention renovating the old Up To Date on Third Street, opening it as an upscale furniture boutique.

Troy Polloi scooped the local members of the Fourth Estate when they informed you that Ms. Messick would not be seeking re-election this coming fall, speculating she had had a falling out with members of Troy's Republican cabal. Several reports reached the Polloi detailing verbal* confrontations between Ms. Messick and Deputy Mayor Dan Crawley. Hey Dude Dan** has developed quite a reputation for verbosity, (see the Monday, May 16, 2005 post for more) criticizing those courageous enough to actually run for office. Coupled with the adverse publicity she received for her building code escapades, we can understand her desire tabandonon politics. Ms. Messick did have one notable success. The extension of downtown Troy's historic district. Regrettably, the Tutunjian appointed and preservation- challenged Planning Board has rendered that piece of legislation virtually null and void.***

While we certainly understand Ms. Messick's decision to avoid the limelight by not seeking re-election, abandoning her holdings and fleeing the country seems a curious move and opens the door to all kinds of speculation. Thus, we speculate.

First , is their real destination the Dominican Republic? Perhaps not. Perhaps Code Enforcement is hot on their trail and they are headed to a country without an extradition treaty, perhaps Algeria, which is lovely this time of year. Regardless, this apparent cut and run strikes Mr. Houseman as odd given the degree they had invested in Troy.

Adieu, and Bon Voyage.

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* Verbal only in the sense that it emanates from an orifice.

** Troy's business leaders have bestowed the epithet "Hey Dude" upon Deputy Dan after he greeted a highly respected member of that community with those words at their first meeting. "Hey Dude" replaced Mr. Crawley's former nickname, "Sweatpants Dan".

*** That's right. Not just null, but also void.

Sunday, June 19, 2005


On Tuesday, June 14, the Troy City Council attempted to hold an informal meeting for the people of Troy, and Democratus was there.

The City Council holds two such meetings every year. The meetings are designed to be informal, so the citizens and the elected officials can have some give-and-take: have a real dialogue. Unfortunately, the crowd on Tuesday night was angry.

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City Council's informal meeting, June 14, 2005

The people who spoke seemed less interested in a conversation and more interested venting their real or perceived complaints against the city. In an editorial, The Record correctly points out that this was a missed opportunity. No one likes to be lectured. No one likes shouts and rants directed at them. If the people want elected officials to listen there are more effective ways to communicate such as, calmly stating your point, utilizing smoke signals or sign language. Ranting is just bad form.

However, some responses were enlightening. Someone complained that their requests for information were never answered. Corporation Counsel David Mitchell fielded that inquiry:

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"That's my responsibility," responded Mitchell. "I work
50 to 60 hours a week not responding to your requests. It's
very tiring."

Someone else demanded to know what Soylent Green was made of. Finally, someone demanded to know why there were no more informal meetings.

It was a completely useless evening. And Democratus enjoyed every minute of it!

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Democratus and friend at City Council meeting

Thursday, June 16, 2005


The news in Troy is a funny thing. Some days....nothing. Then, there's a lot of stories.


Lets take a quick look at the Democratic lineup (since you'll probably never see their names in print in the local paper between now and the election).

District 1 - Dan Doran;

District 2 - Flora Carr;

District 3 - Peter Ryan;

District 4 - Bill Dunne;

District 5 - Frank Lamiano;

District 6 - James Hockler;


Michael LoPorto, Clem Campana, Robert Martiniano

We'll talk about the Democratic slate more as the silly season gets underway. For now, we wish them luck and invite them to introduce themselves or even guest post on The Troy Polloi.


The proposed hotel, to be erected on the site of the historic Troy City Hall, has us more excited than Michael Jackson in a room full of kindergarteners. We love the idea because, frankly, Troy is in desperate need of more hotel space. The city has had to turn away too many conventions and other special events due to a hotel room shortage.

In all seriousness, we like the idea of destroying City Hall and the parking lot, in order to put something of value on prime, waterfront property. However, we also fear for Uncle Joe's sanity. We generally like Joe. It's never a bad thing when your state senator is the Senate Majority Leader. Still, private enterprises, such as the Best Western and Franklin Plaza, shouldn't be forced to compete against taxpayer dollars.

Secondly, is there a shortage of hotel space in Troy? Is Troy a destination for any large group of tourists? We think not. It's putting the cart before the horse.

We do applaud the idea as well as the architect's vision of what the hotel would look like.

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The Troy Jo-Ho Plaza


Well, it's true. We were hoping it wasn't, but it is. Jack Mahoney will not be on the ballot this year. Jack is a class act, a true gentleman and he brought a certain dignity to our public life. We cannot recall Jack ever attacking someone or acting petty or childish. Good luck with the restaurant. We hope to see you there soon.


Speaking of Uncle Joe, he must have been putting the screws to The Record. DA Trish D'Angelis appeared in just over eighteen stories this past week. All of them positive. Just how many resignations have there been from her office? We'll never know. We do know that there has been quite a few. Some have even resigned before having a new job in place. That's some leadership.

It would be nice if someone did a full length story, maybe....oh....we don't know....comparing the current DA's reversal rate (based on prosecutorial misconduct) to Bruno, Donohue and Canfield. Oh, hell, we guess we'll have to do it. Hey, just think, maybe her reversal rate is better.

Monday, June 13, 2005


As many of you know, Henry Bauer is running for an At-Large seat on the Troy City Council. Bauer is currently an Assistant Corporation counsel at $30,000. As a councilman, Bauer will make $15,000. We've never seen a person work their way down the economic ladder so quickly.
In a previous post, we examined how East Greenbush Town Justice Charles Assini managed to get himself removed from the bench. In this post we'll examine another local justice, this fellow a bit further to the north. Our reason for exploring other judicial follies is to put Bauer's actions into context rather than just examine the charges and the findings against Bauer. Thus, we're giving you a look other judges and their problems.

This next judge is a far cry from Assini.

Douglas C. Mills, a judge of the Saratoga Springs City Court, Saratoga County, was served with a Formal Written Complaint dated July 17, 2003, containing two charges. On October 5, 1999, Jason Kalenkowitz appeared before Mills for a non-jury trial on a charge of Possession Of An Open Container in violation of Section 61-1 of the Code of the City of Saratoga Springs. Mr. Kalenkowitz, who was a full-time student at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, appeared pro se. Assistant District Attorney David Harper called one witness, police officer Eileen Cotter, who had arrested Mr. Kalenkowitz. Mr. Kalenkowitz testified on his own behalf and called two witnesses.

During Mr. Harper’s cross-examination of a defense witness, the following occurred:
Q. You testified there is a sidewalk there. Was she [police officer Cotter] standing on the house side of the sidewalk or in the pavement, on the side of the sidewalk?
A. Probably on the house --

MR. KALENKOWITZ: This is ridiculous.

THE COURT: Really? The next time you have an outburst like that, I will hold you in contempt, and sentence you to ten days in the Saratoga County jail. Want to state your reasoning on the record?

MR. KALENKOWITZ: Because he’s going on to something that’s already been said. He’s asking questions about calling somebody a bitch. That is irrelevant. He’s using -- trying to get something that is irrelevant. I believe the cops in the front yard saw me walk out. I don’t see how, me calling somebody a bitch, that I testified to, has anything to do with their testimony.

THE COURT: That’s what you’re concluding, that all these proceedings are ridiculous?

MR. KALENKOWITZ: Also, me, you, probably, and him, probably, have had a drink - and me being arrested for drinking in the front yard.

THE COURT: That’s why we have a court. I am warning you, if you interrupt me, you will go to jail.

MR. KALENKOWITZ: You asked me a question. I am answering it.

THE COURT: Good idea. Because you will go to jail.

MR. HARPER: No further questions.

THE COURT: Want to make any concluding remarks?

MR. KALENKOWITZ: I just made them.

THE COURT: Mr. Harper?

MR. HARPER: I will waive a closing statement.

At the conclusion of the trial, respondent found Mr. Kalenkowitz not guilty.
The following then occurred:

THE COURT: However, Mr. Kalenkowitz, the Court is not going to avoid having a conversation with you about your attitude, which is much more important to me than this whole proceeding.

MR. KALENKOWITZ: I am sorry. I am frustrated with the whole ordeal. I am missing classes for this court date, and it is the second charge I was brought up against, in Saratoga, that I was not guilty of, and it’s taken a lot of time and money out of my hands.

THE COURT: Does that mean you can be disrespectful to the Court and declare this whole thing is a joke on the record? Do you think that [endears] yourself --


THE COURT: Now we’re going to have a contempt hearing. You’ve again interrupted me.
The Court finds you are in contempt of Court. The Court has previously warned the Defendant, several times, not to interrupt the Court, and he did so again. So I will sentence the Defendant to three days in the county jail. Please take the Defendant into custody. You will have to learn your lesson the hard way.

MR. KALENKOWITZ: You’re a good man for doing this.

THE COURT: Mr. Kalenkowitz, you’re an obnoxious young man.

MR. KALENKOWITZ: You’re [an] obnoxious old man.

THE COURT: I will sentence the Defendant to three more days in the Saratoga County Jail, to total six days.

On October 6, 1999, the day after Mills finding of contempt, Mills realized that he was in error in finding Mr. Kalenkowitz guilty of Criminal Contempt in the second degree because Mr. Kalenkowitz was not informed that he was being charged with that crime and there was no trial on a properly filed accusatory instrument. Instead of releasing him from custody, Mills, sua sponte and in Mr. Kalenkowitz’s absence, decided to dismiss the Criminal Contempt charge and to charge Mr. Kalenkowitz with contempt in violation of Judiciary Law Section 750. The sentence remained the same. Mills issued a commitment order dated October 6, 1999, which stated that Mr. Kalenkowitz was convicted of contempt in violation of Judiciary Law Section 750 and was sentenced to a term of six days. No new trial or hearing on this charge was held.

On October 7, 1999, Mr. Kalenkowitz, still in custody and unrepresented by an attorney, appeared before Mills. Mills advised Mr. Kalenkowitz of his right to an attorney, but did not ask if he wanted an attorney. Assistant District Attorney Harper moved to dismiss the criminal contempt charge on the ground of double jeopardy, apparently on the belief that on October 5, 1999, Mr. Kalenkowitz had been found guilty of contempt under Judiciary Law Section 750. Mills dismissed the charge, but the defendant was returned to jail on the commitment order dated October 6, 1999, which reflected a conviction and sentence for contempt under Section 750 of the Judiciary Law.

At the October 7, 1999 court appearance, Mr. Kalenkowitz again apologized to Mills. Mills stated, “Thank you very much” and remanded him to the jail to serve out his sentence.

In summarily convicting Mr. Kalenkowitz of contempt, Mills failed to give Mr. Kalenkowitz any opportunity to make a statement in his defense and failed to make a mandate of commitment as required by Judiciary Law Section 752.

Mr. Kalenkowitz was released from custody after four days of incarceration. The invalid contempt finding and subsequent incarceration caused Mr. Kalenkowitz numerous personal repercussions.

Mills summarily sentenced Jason Kalenkowitz to jail for contempt, ostensibly for violating “several” warnings against interrupting Mills. The record does not substantiate the Judge's portrayal of the events, neither as to his warnings or as to any behavior by the defendant that would justify his actions. As the transcript shows, the defendant, a college student who had successfully defended himself on an Open Container charge, was apparently attempting to respond to Mills questions during a sermon about the defendant’s “attitude.” Mills' exercise of the summary contempt power in such circumstances, without complying with statutory due process, was a gross abuse of judicial authority. Compounding his misconduct, when he later realized he had wrongly convicted Mr. Kalenkowitz of Criminal Contempt under the Penal Law, Mills did not release him when he was brought back to court the following day, but simply changed the commitment order to reflect a conviction under a different statute and sent the defendant back to jail, where he remained in solitary confinement, without access to an attorney, for another three days. Even with an opportunity to reflect on his actions, and even when the defendant had apologized for a second time, Mills failed to remedy the harsh consequences of his actions in sending an acquitted defendant to jail.

Mills was being an obnoxious old man and tyrannical. Now we don't know Mills, wouldn't know him if we ran him over. He may be a great judge, he may be an awful judge. His conduct here was in error but it appears that everyone was having a pretty bad day. There's no evidence of any on-going problems, ethical or otherwise, with Judge Mills, that we know of. Judge's, such as Mills, have bad days and make mistakes. Kalenkowitz, the defendant, obviously knew how to push Mills' buttons. Mills overreacted and it returned to bite him on his ass. Mills was censured for his actions.

Still, this incident, as trivial as it may seem to some, does matter. Judge Mills failed to comply with due process. Due process requires notice of the allegation and an opportunity to be heard. Further, Judge Mills wrongly convicted the defendant of Criminal Contempt, a wrong Mills himself acknowledged. The consequence was that a college student remained in jail for three days without access to an attorney.

It amuses us when so-called conservatives downplay such actions. Conservatives are supposed to put individual rights above all else. Yet, when an accused suffers a deprivation of rights, it is simply no big deal. The accused is obviously guilty. The police would never arrest an innocent man so the accused must be guilty. Those defending individual rights are then called "liberals" or worse, "lefties" and "soft on crime."

As usual, so-called conservatives miss the point entirely. They miss the irony of the situation. They pay lip-service to our great traditions but try and undercut those traditions at every opportunity. Our individual liberties are based on hundreds of years of British Common Law and over two-hundred years of Constitutional Law. Men such as James Madison believed such liberties were important enough that the 4th Amendment was included in the Constitution.

The 4th Amendment forbids "unreasonable searches and seizures". That Amendment is a huge boon to criminals. It means that the government can't seize or search a person or his home because "we just know he's a bad guy." Perhaps the conservative philosophers in Troy may want to repeal the 4th Amendment. After all, if you haven't done anything, why should you care if you're seized or your home is searched.

James Madison - A soft-on-crime liberal. Each passing year makes it more and more obvious that conservatives would be much happier in the Soviet Union of 1935.

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Soft-on-crime liberals debate the Constitution

Friday, June 10, 2005


We here at the Troy Polloi want to acknowledge that Troy is capable of producing outstanding public servants. One such person is Appellate Justice Ed Spain. Judge Spain is running for re-election to the Supreme Court (apparently Appellate Division judge's must also be Supreme Court judges so they must run for re-election even though they are appointed to the appellate court).

Justice Edward O. Spain was designated a Justice of the Third Department effective December 30, 1994. He began his legal career in private practice in 1966 with his father in Troy. In 1967, he served as an Assistant District Attorney for Rensselaer County until he was called to active duty in the United States Navy, Judge Advocate General corps; he was honorably discharged in 1972 with the rank of lieutenant. Justice Spain returned to private practice and served as Deputy Corporation Counsel for the City of Troy for two years.

In 1977, Justice Spain served as Deputy Chief Clerk of Rensselaer County Surrogate's Court and was elected to Troy Police Court, where he served until he was elected to the Rensselaer County Family Court in 1985. He was elected to the Supreme Court in 1991 and, in January 1994, he was appointed Administrative Judge for the Third Judicial District. Justice Spain is a graduate of LaSalle Institute in Troy, Boston College and Albany Law School. (From the Appellate Court Website).

We're sure many of you have had the pleasure to know Judge Spain and his family. Edward Spain is a decent, honorable, thoughtful man and a dedicated public servant. He does his city proud. If every public servant was like Judge Spain, the citizens would truly get what they deserve. He's a class act and a cut above.


A modern hotel should be built on the Hudson Riverfront property now occupied by Troy City Hall, state Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno said Thursday.The politically powerful Brunswick Republican will ask that the state commit up to $1.5 million in funds to assist the city in the first phase of developing a new government center in the Proctor's Theatre block on Fourth Street. He said he expects to get approval for the funding before the state Legislature adjourns for the session on June 23.

Bruno's plan would not leave the current administration out in the cold. Bruno suggested that Mayor Tutunjian would manage the hotel, Mr. Crawley would become chief bellhop and Bob Mirch would manage the housekeeping department.

One source believes that Senator Bruno wants Troy, NY to host the 2012 Olympics.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


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By Huggybear

Word on the Street is that Frank Laposta will not run for Troy City Council. Or jog for that matter. Frank is unhappy because the party dissed the guy Frank wanted to see run in District 2. Word on the Street is that Jack Mahoney didn't even know Frank's guy. Why would you want to run someone in the 2nd if Mahoney doesn't know the guy? That cat Mahoney knows everybody.

Word on the Street is that some Dems want Steve Dworsky to run in District 5. Huggybear is letting you know early so if you live there, you have time to get out. I'm just playing with you, Steve. You Da Man! Dworsky is best known for his quips, such as, "You have to realize that people have become disenfranchised with the Democratic Party. You need to welcome everyone in, not just the ones wearing three-piece suits." Man, who wears three-piece suits nowadays?

Word on the Street is that the Repubs are getting cold feet about endorsing Pascarell. Pascarell is the Democrat-turned Republican-turned-Democrat-turned-Free Soiler that has won and lost races for City Council since the Taft Administration. In fact, if the Huggybear remembers correctly, Pascarell once ended up running against himself and endorsing the other candidate.

Word on the Street is that administration officials now have to clear things with The Boss, Bob Mirch, even after Harry OK's something. Who's in charge down there, anyway.

Monday, June 06, 2005


James Franco's article in Thursday's Record is worthy of a read. The GOP has decided to dust off Troy's political dinosaur, William Pascarell, and give him a shot at offing Dunne in the 4th District.

The selection of Pascrell shows just how desperate the Republicans are to get rid of the Council's lone Democrat. Pascarell has little chance to beat Dunne.

However, that's not the interesting thing about Franco's piece. The more disturbing part of the story are the intimations that some Democrats are worried about Dunne on the ticket. That they may in fact, try to derail his nomination.

For the record, we don't know what Dunne did or did not do. No one knows. He wasn't charged with anything at the Dormitory Authority. He left to take a higher paying job. We've seen the notorious e-mail on the news. Our response: Oh my! Frankly, we don't see the big deal.

As far as we know, Dunne has never lied on a matter of public or private concern. There are no allegations that he threatened anyone with a gun, had an extra-marital affair, was pulled over for DWI, was packed off to rehab, surfed porn at City Hall, lied about saving the city $60,000, mishandled Federal money.....

***Those are real issues. Did the Record even mention the Bruno allegations? No! The former top law enforcement official in Rensselaer County may have intimidated his wife with a gun and enagaged in an extra-marital affair... but that isn't news.*** (see retraction below).

Renssealer County mishandled Federal funding to such an extent that it was take out of the Weed n' Seed loop. News? Barely.

The Republicans nominate a man that deprived accused individuals of their rights. News? Only the fact that he'll likely win.

DeAngelis' convictions get flipped more than Paris Hilton. News? Nah.

Mayor Tutunjian has yet to explain just how he saved $60,000 by switching insurance brokers. News? Hardly. We'd rather focus on private correspondance bewteen consenting adults.

And the Democratic Party: more flaccid than pre-Viagra Bob Dole. The party organization, if it can be called an organization, has never stepped up to the plate. They are so worried about what the Republicans will do that they've yet to formulate any plan or give people any reason to vote for them. Dunne, whatever he did or didn't do, is the least of their worries. The Democrats must make the Republicans worry about what they, the Democrats, might do.

Franco's article hints that Dunne may not receive the Democratic nomination. That is so Democratic Party. Try and oust the only elected Democrat in the City of Troy (Mahoney is a registered conservative and Maier is a blank) when your party is at its lowest ebb. With Democrats like that, the Republicans don't even have to do their own dirty work.

Tom Wade has been an outspoken advocate for Dunne and clearly sees such infighting as counter-productive. Wade is shrewd, but it doesn't take a genuis to realize that Dunne may be the only Democrat on the ticket that wins.

Unless, this is part of a takeover. LaPosta is close to Dworsky and Dworsky to Mirch (if anyone can be said to be close to that creature). Is one faction of the party trying to wipe the slate clean for a full takeover? And exactly who would take over. Rumor has it that Lynn Mahoney has hinted at a run for mayor (we're waiting for the laughter to die down). Mahoney, despite some positives, would be buried. Does Dworsky want back in the mix? Haven't we been down that road before?

This all points-up an inherent weakness in the Democratic Party on all levels: they're wimpy. No, not as people. The list of Democratic combat veterans belies any suggesting that they lack personal courage (in marked contrast to Chicken-Hawk Republicans). They are wimpy in dealing with adversaries. Instead of attacking rumor mongers, they add fuel to the fire. Look and see how the Republicans gathered around to support Bauer. True, many ignorant Trojans don't see what Bauer did as wrong, but it never hurts to play to the lowest common denominator.

For God Sake's, go on the offense. If they try and slander one of your candidates, hit back. Slander one of theirs. That's what they know. Call Harry a liar unless he can explain how he saved the City $60,000. That's a lie about an actual issue of public concern. Question Mitchell's raise, DeAngelis' record and the low morale at the DA's office. Do something! Do more than behind the scenes, intra-party machinations. If you don't, you'll never win and you don't deserve to win.

***Mr. Franco has pointed out that he did run an article on the Bruno allegations. We acknowledge the error but still think its news. Thirteen more mistakes and we'll be as bad as the New York Times.***

Friday, June 03, 2005


Former Police Court Judge Henry Bauer announced he will seek an At-Large seat on the Troy City Council. Bauer was removed from the bench in 2004 for numerous improprieties.

In discussing Bauer, it is necessary to discuss the issues that propelled him off the bench. His behavior as a judge must be placed into context. To do this, we'll look at other judges and what behavior landed them in hot water.

Not surprisingly, judicial misconduct comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Judges are investigated for procedural problems (ie. setting high bail, not setting bail...). They are admonished for their behavior on the bench (such as attacking an attorney, or berating an attorney, defendant or complainant). They are admonished for a combination of the two. Sometimes it is an isolated incident, sometimes they exhibit a long pattern of misconduct.

It should also be noted that many good judges get a slap on the wrist from the Committee. Judges are human and can make mistakes. Some of the areas finest judges have been admonished for isolated problems and mistakes. This in no way diminishes their ability or service.


Assini was East Greenbush Town Court Judge from 1986 until 1999. He is also a licensed attorney and a member of the Family Values Party.

Here's a random sample of Mr. Assini's problems as a Town Court Justice.

On June 18, 1996, Michael Poorman, a town councilman who was liaison to the court, investigated the situation and found that a restitution check had not been deposited and that there were two tables piled with case files, cash, outdated money orders and outdated checks that had not been processed. The town board brought the situation to respondent's attention and asked that he acknowledge his responsibility for handling the cases. He did so in writing.

In August 1996, the state comptroller began an audit of the court. Before issuing a report in October 1996, an examiner advised respondent that approximately 120 case files required action. The situation was again discussed with respondent by the auditor on December 9, 1996.

Respondent failed to work on the files until February or March 1997.


Ms. Reno was suspended after difficulties and complaints by respondent's fellow judge, Catherine Cholakis. After Judge Cholakis had demanded that the town board fire Ms. Reno, Councilman Poorman met with respondent and Judge Cholakis on April 2, 1996. Respondent arrived 30 minutes late for the meeting, which, because of his attitude and conduct, lasted only a matter of minutes. Respondent directed questions at Judge Cholakis in a confrontational manner, without allowing her to respond. Judge Cholakis left in frustration.

After her departure, respondent turned to Mr. Poorman and referred to Judge Cholakis as a "fucking cunt."

In or after June 1996, respondent stopped at the court to tell clerk Jay Amodeo that respondent was not well and intended to cancel a court session scheduled for that day. When Mr. Amodeo inquired whether respondent would like him to ask Judge Cholakis to substitute, respondent referred to her as a "fucking bitch."

In the late summer of 1997, respondent suggested to Mr. Amodeo and the court officer, Ray Ingoldsby, that the Democratic party should run a candidate against that "fucking cunt," referring to Judge Cholakis. A third person was also present.

On another occasion, Mr. Amodeo asked respondent whether he should move a case to Judge Cholakis's calendar. Respondent replied that he did not want to give anything to that "fucking bitch."


Prior to May 1995, respondent allowed E. Robert Duffy, the director of a private defensive-driving program, to make recommendations outside of court as to which defendants should be sentenced to take a defensive-driving program. During courtroom sessions, Mr. Duffy was allowed to sit at the bench next to the bailiff. When respondent sentenced defendants to a defensive-driving course, he gave them pamphlets advertising Mr. Duffy's course, stating in bold letters that defendants were required to contact Mr. Duffy's program and, "No other course is acceptable."

In 1994 and 1995, Commission staff investigated a complaint concerning this conduct. On January 7, 1995, respondent testified and acknowledged Mr. Duffy's role in the court and that he had allowed Mr. Duffy to write and warn defendants who had failed to attend the program as directed.

On May 3, 1995, the Commission cautioned respondent that his conduct violated the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct. "By these practices, you have lent the prestige of your office to private interests," the Commission advised respondent. "Defendants would reasonably believe that Mr. Duffy and his program were an adjunct to the court and that they had no choice of programs. You should not permit Mr. Duffy to sit near you as you preside. Nor should you permit Mr. Duffy to speak for the court or write letters that are distributed by the court as the court's letters."

After receipt of the Commission's Letter of Dismissal and Caution, until at least March 1996, respondent continued to allow Mr. Duffy to sit at the bench, and respondent continued to distribute his pamphlet. Until Mr. Duffy closed his program sometime in 1996, respondent continued to allow him to make ex parte recommendations as to whom should be required to take the defensive-driving program.

After Mr. Duffy no longer appeared in the court, respondent began distributing the pamphlet of another local driving school, E&E. Only if a defendant asked respondent whether a different course could be taken would respondent concede that any certified course was acceptable.

Bad stuff, that. Need we say that Mr. Assini was removed from the bench. Is there any doubt he should have been removed?

Bauer's transgressions are in marked contrast to Assini's. Assini had ethical violations as well as personal problems. He also had problems following procedure, but the unheeded warnings and the constant attack on his fellow judge sealed his fate.

Assini is one example of an out of control judge. Next week we'll look at another area judge and his problems. Then, on to Henry Bauer. Again, we do think it important that allegations against Bauer be put into some type of context. It's also important to know what happens in our courts. They are, after all, our courts.

Also next week, "Why are the Democrats So Damned Wimpy?" We'll speak to an expert (unless he chickens out).

Have a safe weekend.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


No, it's not your math skills that are wanting. It's just our District Attorney's office. In particular, it's the example set by DA DeAngelis.

Christopher Allen was tried and convicted for rape in 2002. The victim was 15 years old. He was sentenced to thirty years in prison (rightly so). Unfortunately, our DA snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Do to both prosecutorial misconduct and errors by the judge, Allen's conviction was overturned in December of 2004.

Allen recently pled guilty to a lesser charge. He will be sentenced to 2 and 1/2 years in prison. Since he has already done the time, he will not spend a day in prison. He'll get time served. Oh, yeah, he has to register as a sex offender because he'll now be back out in the community.

The deal was struck, in part, because the victim did not want to go through another trial. Who can blame her? She probably expected the first trial to be carried out competently.

Since no one else has done so, the Troy Polloi hereby requests the resignation of District Attorney Trish DeAngelis. This is no indictment of the entire office. There are good ADA's in Rensselaer County. ADA's that are more interested in convictions than political careers and headlines. Morale has reached a breaking point and if DeAngelis is a true leader, she'll see the need for new blood.

We're not holding our breath.