The Hezitorial: Say “Yes!” to Yonkers, by Voting, “No!” to Phil Amicone BY Hezi Aris

eHezi Archives 39 Comments

EHezi_Hezitorial Yonkers City Council to Pay Mayor Amicone’s Failed $8 Million First Amendment Rights 

Mayor Phil Amicone learned a very expensive lesson in Constitutional law when he lost a lawsuit for wrongfully seizing news racks and copies of The Westchester Guardian. At Mayor Amicone’s behest and charge, The Yonkers Police Department was employed to issue summonses against The Westchester Guardian employees attempting to hand out the paper about Yonkers City Hall. DPW Commissioner John Liszewski testified he was specifically demanded to take away two such news racks and dutifully complied.  Mayor Amicone went up against the U.S. Consitution and lost in the Federal courtroom of the Hon. Cathy Seibel. He is now personally saddled by an $8 million  jury awarded judgment owed to 16 people employed by publisher Sam Zherka. Initially jubilant over the win, Yonkersites are now worried they will have to pay the $8 million judgment.

The case has set a precedent which delights many throughout the nation; “Yes!,” the case has become viral – it now leaves Yonkersites perplexed and ill at ease. Fair minded Yonkersites are comforted by witnessing the Bill of Rights, within which the First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution is found. . The amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, infringing on the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. 

A non-aggression pact seems to have been formulated in the backrooms of Westchester County and Yonkers. A deal has been designed and defined by a few men in a room. Yonkers City Council President Chuck Lesnick has donned the Judas suit, not in preparation for Halloween, but in preparation to indemnify Mayor Amicone his personal $8 million liability. Yet when questioned, Mr Lesnick said, “I am not trying to build a consensus to indemnify the Mayor.  I am looking at all options to minimize the impact to the taxpayers of Yonkers.”

Yonkers City Council Majority Leader Pat McDow (District 1) advises she does not yet have sufficient information to make a decision one way or another. She advises her elected position may ascribe her conduct legally with regard to some concerns but that other issues may free her from such constraints. 
Yonkers City Councilman Wilson Terrero (District 2) today advised he has not been approached by Mr Lesnick regarding indemnifying Mayor Amicone using city funds to pay off the $8 million judgment against Phil Amicone personally. Mr Terrero advises there are better uses for Yonkers funds other than indemnifying Mr Amicone his excesses of power.

Yonkers Councilwoman Joan Gronowski (District 3) has asked for and is still awaiting Yonkers Corporation Council supplying her with a full transcript of the court case, presiding Judge Cathy Seibel’s instructions to the jury, and the personal culpability of Phil Amicone personally before casting her vote. Ms Gronowski promises to read every word on every page of the transcript upon its receipt by her.

Yonkers Councilman Dennis Shepherd’s (District 4) was requested to weigh in on this issue before Noon time today… he has yet to afford this publication a callback

Yonkers City Council Minority Leader John Murtagh (District 5) today advised, “This is the first I’ve heard about it.”

Yonkers City Councilman John Larkin (District 6) advised he is aware of the situation facing Mayor Amicone. Mr Larkin advises he has not been approached by anyone, including Chuck Lesnick, with this regard. Mr Larkin believes because Mr Lesnick is a lawyer, he would know better than to approach anyone on this issue until further court action is taken.

Despite the reponses afforded by the responding Yonkers City Council membership, Yonkers Tribune has been advised that Yonkers City Council President Chuck Lesnick is diligently working to assemble a majority of votes among the Yonkers City Council membership to indemnify Phil Amicome from having to pay the $8 million liability he has been demanded to personally pay. Attempting to undermine the Hon. Cathy Seibel’s ruling, as ascribed by a jury of his peers, is Yonkers Corporation Counsel, who are attempting to instill fear among the Yonkers City Councilmembers lest they set a precedent that would pierce the mantle of future elected officials from being indemnified against personal liability. That would be a credible argument were those  in elected office acting outside the parameters set by the definition of their respective offices.

The strong mayor form of government does not permit the mayor to exceed the parameters or boundaries set by law just because he is upset by the contrarian stance media had or has of his conduct. The jury came back with an $8 million personal judgment against Phil Amicone because they judged his conduct of exacting retribution against The Westchester Guardian, their property, and personnel, was his response to disliking content in articles written about him in the weekly newspaper. It was because Mayor Phil Amicone exceeded the parameters permitted him as Mayor of the City of Yonkers that he exposed himself to personal liability and fell prey to being personally liable for his actions in bringing the power and might of the City of Yonkers to bear upon The Westchester Guardian, its property, and its personnel.

There is absolutely no rationale for the Hon. Cathy Seibel, after consultation and agreement with all legal counsel before her on how to charge the jury prior to their deliberation process, to be so adamant about the personal liability exposure of Phil Amicone and not the City of Yonkers. 

Why should the City Council, or any other entity for that matter, exonerate the brazen “illegal” conduct of Phil Amicone for his folly as Mayor of the City of Yonkers? Phil Amicone’s wanton behavior were he to be indemnified by a majority of the Yonkers City Council would cause taxes to increase almost $400 per Yonkers homeowner.

Why should Phil Amicone be indemnified when Yonkers has a diminished crew of DPW workers, a shortage of firefighters, and police officers who have lost their jobs? Why should Yonkersites have to pay Amicone’s folly when many streets in Yonkers have not been paved for over 25 years? Yonkers infrastructure is failing, our educational system is challenged, and economic development has stalled. Is it appropriate to bail out Phil’s excesses? 

Yonkers Tribune’s sources are impeccable. In this situation it seem all the potential protagonists are to be found on the opposite side of this telling. This publication will have to await the Yonkers City Council’s future vote to ascertain if the city taxpayer will be burdened to pay Phil Amicone’s $8 million personal debt or if Phil Amicone will have to pay for his own arrogance and folly. How many on the Yonkers City Council will vote to indemnify Phil Amicone his personal debt and burden the taxpayer even more?

The answer must be a resounding, “No!” to indemnify Phil Amicone his persoanl debt.

“No!“ to Phil Amicone for trashing the U.S.. Constitution and the First Amendment.

“No!” to his past conduct of exacting retribution of others. “No!” to Phil being indemnified by the City of Yonkers. 

Say “Yes!” to Yonkers, by saying, “No!” to Phil Amicone. 

The author is the Editor in Chief and Vice-President of The Westchester Guardian

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eHeziThe Hezitorial: Say “Yes!” to Yonkers, by Voting, “No!” to Phil Amicone BY Hezi Aris

Comments 39

  1. THE PROPS ARE ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE BALLOT. THE WORKERS ARE NOT TELLING PEOPLE TO FILL OUT BOTH SIDES. REMEMBER TO CHECK BOTH SIDES OF THE BALLOT WHEN YOU VOTE!

  2. Im IN. Where do I sign?
    How do we get the Word out that it will be going around?
    Hezi, will you look into this more for the people of Yonkers? You have been the only form of democracy in this city…
    Thank You.
    People of Yonkers.

  3. Raise when we need 10% cuts, you people are out of your $ucking minds. You’d better look around at the real world. It does not include any raises just more layoffs. I don’t believe in the sincerity of the tea partyers but they are right on one thing government spending is way out of control and Yonkers payroll budget is a great example of that.
    I’ll be voting no, and encourage all to do likewise. We need to kick this Mayor and his baloney ideas out of town.

  4. The only problem with your analysis is that you left a couple of zero’s in their contracts. The COY has been giving these unions everything but the kitchen sink and now they have to suck it up like everyone else.

  5. I believe all city union contracts are expired. Lets give them 3 more years at 4% for each year. We could also have more cops on the street if we put all the secretary cops back on the street. Have the police commissioner fetch his own coffee.

  6. That includes Chuck Lesnick who seems to be positioning himself for a run at the Mayor’s spot-Mr. Lesnick is a political panderer bar none and he is also a person with no balls.

  7. Bottomline, the Mayor was not defending the City or it’s residents when he violated Mr. Zherka’s first amendment rights, so why should we pay for his mistake? His ego got the best of him and we have to pay $8 million dollars? Some of our legislative members who should be the check and balance and not rubber stamps for the Mayor are actually considering an indemnfication proposal. Heck nah! Something stinks.

  8. Mr. Uninformed. I had to do the business of the NAACP as President and I did what my conscience told me to do and what was right. Many for over 50 years apparently didn’t have the balls to do it, so it is.’
    The Justice Department in investigating Yonkers and there is no legal action or litigation that requires monetary input. Again, there is only an investigation. Yonkers residents are not defending anything! Ultimately with the final findings will be a more updated training manual, up-to-date best practices, more funding for more police officers and a much improved YPD.
    I am interested in mainly the waste of taxpayer’s money, especially in a recession. Just because I am okay doesn’t mean others are not suffering. Heck!I see the victims of high taxes, unemployment, reduced services right here in Yonkers. You just wait until those contracts for Police, Fire, DPW and teachers come due again. We are bonded to the max and sooner or later we will all have to pay for fiscal mismanagement. How can we indemnify the Mayor for $8 million dollars when we don’t even have enough money for an adequate number of police to suppress gang activity and keep crime under control? We can’t even keep our libraries open on a full-time basis, so many streets unpaved for years. Are you kidding!

  9. I did what I had to do as NAACP President and if I was an elected official, having access to all those dirty little secrets, I would have turned in many folks to the FEDS in a minute. Come to think of it for over 50 years nobody else had the balls to do it and ultimately, our police department will be a better police department with an updated manual, best practices, and ultimately proper funding and more police personnel to go along with the final findings.
    Taxpayer’s money has not been spend to defend what is only an investigation. There isn’t litigation or any matter that I am aware of that requires taxpayers monetary input at this time. Again, the Justice Department is investigating and not suing Yonkers (at least not yet). I suggest that you “Mr. Informed” is required to be a little bit more informed before you can use such an alias.

  10. I have heard that there will be a kickoff for a petition to have the Mayor resign, starting Wednesday at noon on the steps of City Hall. Does anyone know who is heading this up or if it is for real? I think that there would be plenty of people signing.

  11. you’re probably right in fact, I can see joanie strangling him with his own beard and then ripping every mole off his face. Speaking of Yonkers’ predisposition of violating first amendment rights, there was a huge settlement – $250,000 – against former mayor spencer right around the time of gronowski’s. Seems Spencer was accused of ensuring that a promotion was denied to a Board of Ed employee, based upon the employee’s relative’s political participation. $75K here, $250K there, now $8M. What a legacy of constitutional contempt the Spencer-Amicone will have left this city. These cockroaches are worse than the bedbugs currently infesting parts of the city.

  12. Well,well,well. How about sending in the Feds to investigate the YPD? Isn’t that a waste of taxpayer money? Not only on the Fed level but Yonkers residents to defend it? It’s funny now you’re interested in saving taxpayer money.

  13. If the City Council votes to indemnify Amicone and sticks us (taxpayers) with the bill, I can assure you that some folks will be finished!!! Judge Seibel is NOT going to reduce the award, so brace yourselves. Damn bloodsucking losers, most of these politricktians. One person I know who won’t support this indemnification proposal and it is Joan Gronowski. I cannot speak for the rest. WTF! Some folks have been long bought off so they don’t have the intestinal fortitude to stand up for what is right, so given the opportunity, they will support whatever Phil wants.
    This city is damn near broke, people can’t pay their rents, folks are unemployed, seniors on a fixed income can’t pay any more tax increases, services suck and these cranium-deprived imbeciles want to indemnify Amicone? It will set a horrible precedence and I find this to be wholly unacceptable.
    Chuck, if this is true, you had better prepare to hang out with your friend Cuomo in Albany and you damn sure won’t be doing so on my freakin’ vote, cuz I am votin’ for Jimmy McMillan. THE RENT IS TOO DAMN HIGH AND MY TAXES ARE TOO DAMN HIGH!

  14. Our government has FAILED us in the PAST
    OUR government IS FAILING us NOw
    OuR GoverNMent will FAIL US again, & again, & again.
    Yonkers Government is BRRRRROKEN

  15. the car should be considered abandoned…unless
    it is claimed by the person who owns it in which
    case a bill for storage should be presented to
    that person…or the car should be towed and sold
    with the proceeds going to pay off the storage
    fee and the rest going to the former owner

  16. What is stopping the YPD from coming in and tow this car as a abandoned vehicle, which it is. Sell it and use the proceeds to pay off the parking bill. I guess the police commissioner and Joe Dalli both lost their balls.

  17. Well anon e moose, just like Liam who never met a take he didn’t like, Amicone and Spencer have the same affinity for law suits. Spencer with his revenge suit against Gronowski, and well Fill he took it to a fine art. The ridge hill suit, who knows how much he fed Plunkett on that one, The Zherka suit, another at least million for plunkett and then good ol’ DelBello. They tell us they are broke but not the way they piss away our money on frivolous lawsuits.
    You got one thing right I for one will be voting no against this ass. Everything this administration does is $hit or turns to $hit. All I hope is that if the City in any shape or form tries to pawn this “BILL” on the taxpayer, that it’s met with as many legal challenges.

  18. hezi does not have a conflict of interest..I prosecuted the leading case on the subject many years
    ago…hezi is the publisher of the yonkers tribune
    which is a blog..he is also the editor of the guardian
    newspaper which is not a blog it is a parallell news
    publication..the articles hezi writes on the blog
    are consistant with what he publishes in the newspaper
    in fact many articles are simply duplications ..whether or not you agree with mr zherka
    is not the point just as the jury made clear that
    mr zherka has the absolute right to publish and
    DISTRIBUTE his newspaper without the interference and
    in this case the confiscation by a public official using taxpayer dollars to impliment the confiscation
    Judge Seibell was offended and so was I when it occurred..not only was it stupid it was poor politics
    but on the issue of the 8 million dollar judgement.
    1. the judgement will not stand at that amount I feel
    reasonably certain.2. the judgement cannot be paid by
    the city simply because the council wants to indemnify
    the mayor should they do that in light of the judges
    SPECIFIC finding that the judgment is a personal one
    then they are subject to an additional suit for wasting
    assets which i have no doubt mr zherka would bring in
    theform of an article 78…so the best course of
    action here is to wait until the appeal is heard and
    decided and see what monetary amount is actually assessed against the mayor…it is suggested that the
    council shut its collective mouths until that time
    otherwise they risk a further litigation and more legal fees

  19. HUH – What does Gail Nick and Mike have to do with the Mayor costing the city MILIIONS of dollars. This Mayor sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! but keep trying to divert attention – however, its not working. Pay Sam his money from your own pocket scumbag and take ur hand out of ours!!!!!!!!!

  20. Even Congress passed the articles of impeachment against Bill Clinton for a blow job in the White House and we can’t get rid of Phil for violating the Constitution?
    Never read where getting head was against the Bill of Rights!

  21. how does lesnick even ponder this one? how does the council even think about voting for this? Yonkers politics is like a boardgame to the council & mayor. The Dirty Dozen of Yonkers.

  22. So the story is that Lesnick is trying to get the council to imdemnify the Mayor except that every council member on both sides of the aisle deny it including Lesnick. Where did the story come from and how is the County involved?

  23. you must be kidding
    have you been in Yonkers long?
    Has the Ethics Board or the rest of the dirtbags in city haul ever found a conflict of interest?
    Has McDow ever paid her parking bill, Bill Regan?

  24. To the poster talking about conflict of interest. There is no such a thing as a conflict of interest, especially in Yonkers where everyone in the process if conflicted up the wazoo. Even the stupid, hand picked board of ethics cannot find a conflict that a second grader would see.
    So politely shut the $uck up and get back to work city hauler.

  25. phil
    if this city council votes to indemnify you:
    the taxpayers will make sure you are all on the next train out of town.
    Lesnick and anyone who votes with him will be in the car right beyond you.
    personally: I’d rather see you all in handcuffs.

  26. I really wish the feds would hurry in in and scoop up this dirtbag mayor, take loosenick with them too, he is the biggest asshole east of the mississippi!

  27. Exactly where in the public officers law does it state that a legislative body must vote to idemnify an executive for violating a citizens civil rights? Answer- Nowhere!
    Any council member who dares to vote for this will never be elected to a public office again and will more than likely be involved in future lawsuits for malfeasance.

  28. This news is true is despicable, disgaceful and disgusting.
    Phil violates OUR 1st Amendment Right, a judge finds him guilty and these sh*t heads in Yonkers have the BALLS to actually tell a judge to go F herself to protect Phil ” I am the biggest dirtbag Mayor in the Histpry of the city and State”!
    How DARE you people. Who the hell do you think you are?
    You people are a bunch of Ph*cking scumbags with so little respect for human kind you should be fired.
    If we have to waste any more money of Phil Amicone you WILL ALL BE JUST AS GUILTY AS HE IS. Live with that – you Political PIGS!
    PS – Thank Phil and Bill for screwing us Union Guys again! They just hired a few more people to the friends and family club on our backs! Awesome!
    Real capable schmucks too… a son in law, a family chum and drug dealer. Great stuff for Yonkers.

  29. Regardless of what the council thinks about indemnification, they may have no alternative, due to the public officers law. The city and it’s tax payers may have to pick up this dirty dance receiving mayor’s tab.

  30. Hezi
    Regardless if your comments are accurate or not, as a responsible journalist you have to disclose in every story like this one that you are now the Editor of the Westchester Guardian and work for Sam Zerkha.
    Its called at least the appearence of a conflict of interest.
    The other question is has the Judge confirmed the award yet? Until she does there is always the possibility that she may reduce it to far less than $8 million. Now even if it was $1 million who pays is still a valid question, but not as draconian.
    I think that for once Lesnick should shut his big fat mouth and let the courts do their job before he sticks his nose in it and makes it worse for everybody.

  31. If Lesnick dares to do this, the people of Yonkers will have no choice but to storm the Bastille.
    If this is true, it begs the question: Why would Lesnick want to pull Amicone’s chestnuts out of the fire?

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