YONKERS, NY — April 16, 2013 — The First Amendments Rights afforded The Westchester Guardian, among all Fourth Estate under the United
States Constitution were abridged by former Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone’s
Administration in 2007 when Mr. Amicone directed the Yonkers Police Department
and the Department of Public Works to seize Publisher Sam Zherka’s newspapers,
as well as the blue metal news racks from which people could take a free copy.
Three years on, U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel ruled against Phil Amicone in
an $8 million lawsuit ruling Mr Amicone had lost mayoral protection because he
exceeded his elected office powers by exceeding the parameters set and defined
for him by the Yonkers City Charter, the New York State Constitution, and the
Constitution of the United States of America. In her summation, Judge Cathy Seibel
said Phil Amicone was personally liable to settle the debt. Judge Seibel
concluded by stating, “ Freedom of the press is alive and well!”
In time, the $8 million lawsuit was reduced to an agreed
upon judgment of $393,388.00. Mr Amicone refused to be responsible for the debt;
he would not hear of it. In time, Mr Amicone extorted the Yonkers City Council
to exonerate or absolve him of his personal debt by agreeing to do so. Mr
Amicone threatened to challenge the federal court’s ruling by challenging Judge
Seibel’s ruling at even greater costs. A
“super-majority” of councilmembers agreed to absolve Mr Amicone his personal
debt. Those who refused were Yonkers City Councilwoman Joan Gronowski and
Yonkers City Council President Chuck Lesnick. The Yonkers City Council ruling
overturned Judge Seibel’s intent by making it not enforceable.
Councilmembers John Larkin, John Murtagh,(Republican Minority
Leader) Dennis Shepherd, Wilson Terrero, and Patricia
McDow (Democratic Majority Leader) swallowed this scam. They may not have known
what they were doing; only Mssrs Lesnick and Murtagh are attorneys. While
speaking of potential legal challenge to the indemnification request by Mayor
Amicone to absolve his personal responsibility from possible disparate litigants
outside of government, not one Yonkers Councilmember exposed the fact that the
fear was emanating from within City Hall, not from without. The Yonkers City
Council members were in fear that Mayor Amicone would follow through on his
threat to sue for legal remedy and the City of Yonkers would thereby suffer all
future legal fees since the case would be initiated prior to his stepping down
from office and would likely encumber CoY for many years in the court
system. Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone revealed himself to be the culprit. He
had become the turncoat; his threat of action may be described as akin to being
treasonous. He would turn against Yonkersites because he could and he believes
the taxpayer must bail him out. If they don’t, Mr Amicone will drag Yonkersites
until he overturns the ruling against him or he bankrupts the City of Yonkers.
Benedict “Phil Amicone” Arnold’s conduct was a threat that
was imposed on an ignorant “super majority” council membership. The five
believed they would mitigate future litigation. It turns out a civil suit
initially for $750,000 demanding an apology by Phil Amicone to Sam Zherka was
agreed to and the cost to the City of Yonkers was agreed to be reduced to
$100,000 in costs.
Yonkersites have incurred costs that will exceed total
payment of $493,388.00. Not divulged are the cost incurred in the initial
criminal suit and the most recent civil suit.
The “settlement by Law Department – $100,000.00 – in the
matter of SELIM ZHERKA v. COY was moved from Rules on April 16, 2013 for
placement on the Regular Meeting of the Yonkers City Council scheduled for April
At issue now is when and where with the public apology take place?
Hezi Aris is the
publisher of the Yonkers Tribune and the editor of The Westchester Guardian.
Mayor Amicone’s conduct took place under another