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

Thursday, October 19, 2006


It's simply too damned tempting to not write about our exemplary Corporation Counsel.

As you all know, Public Officers must live in Rensselaer County. Does Mitchell?

We don't know where he lives and, according to sources, he's refused (illegally by the way) numerous demands to turn over his Annual Disclosure Statement. That statement could tell us a lot. For instance, where does he own real property?

What other facts lead us to believe Mr. Mitchell is not a RensCo Resident?

1) He's registered to vote in Saratoga County (although he hasn't cast a ballot since 1999);
2) He sent Harry two $1,000 money order campaign contributions. Unlike checks, money orders lack an address;
3) He won't tell people where he lives;
4) He ignored a court order in the Carignan case and refused to be deposed.

We can only conclude one of two things: He's not a Rensselaer County resident or he's in the witness protection program.

Number four bears some consideration, especially in light of Mitchell's self-described exemplary service to the city. Mitchell disobeyed a discovery order in the Carignan case and failed to appear for a deposition. Counsel for the City did not seek to extend the discovery order. The implications could be serious.

The Carignan suit is scheduled for trial on December 4, 2006. Suppose Mitchell has information that could help the city. Can he testify? Presumably, Plaintiff's counsel will seek to preclude Mitchell's testimony on the grounds that he ignored a court order. Our in-house counsel tells us that Plaintiff's counsel will likely prevail and Mitchell will be precluded. Ouch! Absolutely exemplary.

Speaking of Carignan, on Tuesday, The Record ran a Jim Franco* story on the suit (could not find a link). Franco secured an interesting quote from the city's attorney, Brian Kremer.

"It's similar to shopping for car insurance--just because a person gets a quote from one company--does not preclude them from...calling another company for a quote." one said it did preclude them from getting another quote. Kremer's a fine attorney and we believe he does excellent work in the Labor Law field. His quote here is inexplicable. The obvious follow-up questions are:

1) Why did Comptroller Witkowski testify that there was only one quote?
2) Why did she testify that the one quote came from Carignan?
3) Why is there a letter from Nicoll & MacChesney stating that they (N&M) were unable to secure a quote?

Here's another fun fact from the Carignan saga. As every lay person knows, truth is an absolute defense to a defamation claim. Carignan claims they were defamed when Harry said the city saved $64k by switching brokers (a lie). What you may not know is that Truth, as a defense, must be pled as an Affirmative Defense. The City did not plead Truth as an Affirmative Defense. Why?

So much fun, so little time. Remember, the first person who can identify where Dave Mitchell lives wins a free Troy Polloi tote bag.

*The article mentions Mitchell ignored a deposition subpoena and refused to testify. We can only imagine Mitchell's reaction when he read that bit of exemplary reporting.

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