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

Friday, May 04, 2007


Welcome to Part I of the David B. Mitchell Super Terrific Happy Fun Hour.* Got your tin foil hats? Good.

Mr. Mitchell hasn't learned that a political scandal is like romance: It has to come naturally, it can't be rushed and it can't be created in a few hours (unless you're paying for it and even then sincerity will cost you extra).

The latest attempt to deflect attention away from Intimigate is the Pete Ryan ticket-fixing scandal or Tix-Fix. When we heard "ticket scandal" we thought it might have something to do with front row tickets to the Asia reunion tour. Nope.

Corporation Counsel David B. Mitchell, flushed with his recent victory over Mary Kate O'Neil and Joe Centanni, has demanded an investigation into two alleged attempts by Councilman Peter Ryan to fix a constituent's parking ticket as well as one of his own tickets.

According to The Record (April 27, 2007) the constituent's ticket involved a car towed after the Valentine's Day snowstorm. The constituent, Brian Morgan, contacted Ryan about a $258 ticket after his car had been towed. Morgan wanted his money refunded and had concerns about the towing policy. Ryan brought those concerns to the Corporation Council's Office, the perky, municipal organ that handles parking tickets.

Information on the second incident is hazy and disturbing, or perhaps our phone connection was bad. It seems that Ryan either (1) asked Deputy Mayor Dan Crawley to "fix" a ticket or (2) Ryan purchased a ticket to have Crawley fixed, in exchange for unlimited long-distance calling. Mr. Mitchell was present and was either (1) appalled at the misconduct or (2) shouted 'Kvatter' and offered to phone the Mohel. Like we said, our information is garbled.

That's the gist of it.

In a letter to Ryan, Mitchell writes:
" light of your recent posture regarding the integrity of public officials and employees, I find your behavior this past week reprehensible, overtly hypocritical, replete with official misconduct and compelling a referral to both the office of the Rensselaer County district attorney and the City of Troy Ethics Board."

Mitchell, a former Ballston Spa village judge who resigned before his term expired, is absolutely correct. Democrat Pete Ryan, is well-known for misusing his considerable influence at City Hall. He does it overtly and repletedly, positively bursting with official misconduct. We suspect that he even threatened to wield that influence and have the Deputy Mayor fired if the ticket wasn't fixed.

The Corporation Council's Office handles parking violations. Ryan brought a constituent concern to that office. The office could review the towing policy, refund the money or not. That's not fixing a ticket. That's an exercise in futility. As for Ryan's own ticket, Crawley has declined comment and according to our City Hall mole, Ryan tried to pay the ticket. Ryan was informed that there is no record of the ticket. So, if there is no record of the ticket, what member of the Corporation Counsel's Office conspired with Ryan in this dastardly deed? Another referral to the Ethics Board?

A referral to the City's Ethics Board is an interesting choice. GOP City Chair Tom Casey sits on the Ethics Board while simultaneously violating two ethics rules. City employees are not allowed to be political officers and political officers are not supposed to sit on the Ethics Board. This is as good a time as any to force that issue. Or perhaps Mitchell can refer that issue to the Ethics Board as well.

It's also odd that Mitchell shows so much faith in a board upon which Mr. Casey sits. Remember this little kerfuffle?

In response to a comment by Ryan's attorney, Rich Hanft, Mr. Mitchell stated, "mediocrity always attacks excellence." Hanft, who has successfully argued before United States Supreme Court, did not respond to the response. Mitchell then had to leave because black helicopters were following him.

The seriousness of Mitchell's allegations can be measured by the person handling those allegations. In this case, First Assistant Joe Ahearn. The Rensselaer County District Attorneys Office refers anything remotely political, or serious, to a Special Prosecutor. That's bad news for Inspector Clouseau. We suspect that Troy's paragon of excellence will soon receive a letter asking him to cease wasting Mr. Ahearn's time.

Where does Tix Fix fit in the hierarchy of recent Democratic misdeeds? Hard to say. Somewhere between Ginny O'Brien asking the DPW to do it's job and Clem Campana calling City Hall?

This was fun but it's time to return to planet Earth. See you next time.

* Warning, this post is being recorded!

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