YONKERS, NY –April 23, 2013 — Yonkers taxpayers have been coerced into
paying $493,000 to exonerate former Yonkers Mayor
Amicone. Mr Amicone lost a criminal case in Judge Cathy Seibel’s
Federal Courtoom when the former Mayor Amicone chose to use his office to
demand Yonkers Police Department personnel and Department of Public Works
personnel to steal The Westchester Guardian Publisher Sam Zherka’s
blue-colored, steel news racks and newspaper copies found within those news
racks from the streets of Yonkers. Mr. Amicone’s conduct not only abridged the First Amendment Rights protected by the U.S. Constitution of every Fourth Estate /
media outlet, it also pierced his protective mayoral mantel because he exceeded
his mayoral power / rights.
Mayor Phil Amicone was sued by Sam Zherka, The Westchester
Guardian Publisher, on behalf of his employees who endured the wrath of the
City of Yonkers who turned against them individually and collectively. The $8.5
million initial judgment was whittled down in negotiation to the tune of
$393,000 (approximate) value. The sitting Yonkers City Council voted to exonerate the then Mayor Amicone,
buckling under his threat that if they did not, he would challenge the Hon.
Seibel’s ruling that he is personally liable to pay the debt by engaging
Yonkers Corporation Counsel toward that end.
The Yonkers City Council buckled under Yonkers own Benedict
Arnold’s admonition. They decided to exonerate the mayor his personal debt; he
was absolved of having to pay the initial $393,000 personal debt by the City
Council’s 5-2 vote in the criminal suit. Three Republicans, agenda driven to
save Amicone’s derriere were Councilmembers John Larkin, John Murtagh (a
lawyer), and Dennis Shepherd. Joining the Republicans
protecting a Republican mayor were Councilmembers Wilson Terrero and Majority
Leader Patricia McDow, who were both Democrats and beholden to Amicone their
political clout and future. Voting against capitulating to the threats of then
Mayor Amicone were Councilwoman Joan Gronowski and Yonkers City Council
President Chuck Lesnick.
There were four “legal eagles” in attendance at that specific vote.
Yonkers City Council President Chuck Lesnick, and Minority Leader John Murtagh,
as well as Yonkers City Council Counsel for the Democrats and the Republicans.
None publicly advised the rest of the council membership that defending then
Mayor Amicone was all that was required to satisfy the burden of protecting the
presumed innocent elected official accused. Once Judge Seibel determined Mr
Amicone was personally liable for his conduct and directives to personnel in
his administration, the burden to pay the reduced penalty of $393,000 fell on
the shoulders of Mr. Amicone. He was now judged to be guilty.
A civil suit demanding $750,000 was filed by Sam
Zherka against Phil Amicone thereafter, which also demanded a personal apology.
Legal protocol demanded the Yonkers City Hall defend the former Mayor Amicone
in the second case.
What was not explained in the first case or the second case, but
noted by the Yonkers Tribune years ago, was that defending the mayor prior to
learning he was guilty was the complete and only responsibility that was
required by the City of Yonkers. Similarly, in the civil suit, defending the
former Mayor Amicone to its legal conclusion is all that is required. Paying
the additional $100,000 (the burden reduced from the initial $750,000 suit),
was not required.
Those who wish to reflect can deduce the integrity of this
writing by noting that the Yonkers City Council was required to authorize
payment of the additional $100,000 demanded in the civil suit. They need not
have approved it, but dod!
Again, the three Republicans voted to protect and thereby pay
the additional personal debt that fell on Mr Amicone’s back. Those to protect
the mayor a second time were Councilmembers John Larkin (Minority Leader), Michael Breen, Dennis Shepherd, and Yonkers
City Council President Chuck Lesnick (Democrat). Voting against authorizing the
additional $100,000 cost to Sam Zherka by the Yonkers taxpayer were
Councilmembers Michael Sabbatino, Wilson Terrero (Majority Leaders), and
Christopher Johnson. The Tuesday, April 23, 2013 vote authorization
passed 4 for and 3 against authorizing the payment.
Both votes were corruptly cast by the lack of knowledge afforded
the entire membership of the Yonkers City Council and will remain an
embarrassment to shame the City of Yonkers for years hence. Their collective
ignorance is not an excuse for squandering the taxpayer's coffers.
While media attempts to embarrass the former Mayor Phil Amicone
having to admit his illegal conduct, would anyone shrink from admitting their
wrongdoing to avoid paying $493,000? I suspect it depends on one’s financial
standing in the financial pecking order. It would be doubtful Bill Gates would
submit to an apology for the sum of $493,000. Then again, Phil Amicone is no
Until Yonkersites vote people for who will come to hold elected
office for the benefit of Yonkersites, governance will continue to fail the
electorate. It would be appropriate and propitious for the City of Yonkers to
direct its focus on voting such candidates into elected office. At issue now,
how long will that process take to correct?