Dear Mount Vernon Taxpayers:
The City of Mount Vernon under the direction of Mayor Clinton I. Young has taken a turn for the worse. Taxes and political patronage jobs are way up and services are way down. The word transparency is missing from the vocabulary of Mayor Young’s administration.
On Thursday February 24th, 2010 before the City Council I called everyone’s attention to an epidemic that is threatening the democracy of the great City of Mount Vernon. Political Prostitution, a highly contagious disease, is spreading rapidly through City Hall.
While all of the councilmember’s did not agree with my analysis of Mount Vernon politics and the current state of City Hall, I remain steadfast in my quest for transparency and justice for all of Mount Vernon’s taxpayers. The trouble with the politicians in Mount Vernon is that they would rather be ruined with praise than saved by criticism.
According to Random House dictionary, a politician is a seeker or holder of public office who is more concerned about winning favor or retaining power than about maintaining principles. The definition of a prostitute is a person who willingly uses his or her talent or ability in a base and unworthy way, usually for money.
The City of Mount Vernon has its share of “political prostitutes”. This crime wave of political prostitution that is plaguing our great city is the greatest threat to transparency and democracy. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Mayor Young has already displayed to Mount Vernon taxpayers that he does not abide by written law. This is obvious with the appointment of the Inspector General Harry Stokes, Deputy Human Resources Commissioner Jennifer Coker-Wiggins, and the Deputy Commissioner of Recreation. These individuals do not meet the minimum qualifications for employment as mandated by the City Charter. In Stokes case, he does not meet the minimum qualifications and he is in violation of the residency requirements as mandated by the City Charter.
When we have a Mayor that does not abide by the law, his inept followers are going to follow in his footsteps. The Corporation Counsel’s office under the direction of Loretta Hottinger lacks integrity. As legal advisor to all City departments including the Mayor and the City Council, Hottinger cannot be trusted to act in the best interest of the City. Hottinger is merely a ‘political prostitute’ looking for favor from the party bosses. That is how she was appointed to the City Council in 1998 and that is how she was appointed to Corporation Counsel in 2009. Hottinger an officer of the court is unable to think for herself. Instead, she relies on another imbecile for direction, her husband Ronald Detres, 2nd Vice-Chairman of the Mount Vernon Democratic City Committee.
For as long as I can remember, Detres and Hottinger have always dreamed of Hottinger one day becoming a Judge in the City of Mount Vernon. Their hopes and dreams came crashing down when Mayor Ernest Davis appointed Mark Gross to the bench. Unable to complete their mission and turn their fantasy into reality, Hottinger and Detres turned to another political pimp, Mayor Clinton Young. They now had a chance to settle the score with Mayor Davis by backing his opponent in the race for Mayor in 2007. Detres would then proclaim himself to be the savior in Fleetwood that got Mayor Young elected.
The Corporation Counsel’s Office under the direction of Loretta Hottinger and without lawful authority assumed the role of “Records Access Officer” for the City of Mount Vernon. Accordingly, all Freedom of Information Law [FOIL] requests are filed with the law department. After such requests are filed, the law department then forwards the requests to the various departments that the FOIL requests may pertain to. After the records are gathered they are then sent back to the Law Department for final processing. The FOIL process can take weeks if not months to get basic information from city departments and agencies.
The NYS Freedom of Information laws were enacted in 1976 in an attempt to overcome the crisis in American politics occasioned by Watergate. It is this State’s version of laws adopted nationwide, most commonly referred to as the ‘Sunshine Laws’, which were intended to restore the public’s faith in governmental bodies by encouraging them to conduct business in a public manner.
On Thursday, February 25, 2010 at approximately 12:10 P.M., I stopped by the Law Department to hand deliver a letter to Corporation Counsel Loretta Hottinger. A week prior, I had received a telephone call from Brenda Gears informing me that some of my records that I had requested several months ago were now ready. Ms. Gears also had informed me that the records were turned over to Assistant Corporation Counsel Joana Aggrey for review. Joana Aggrey is the wife of John Boykin, the disgraced, foul mouthed punk and former Special Assistant to Mayor Clinton Young. These records were the resumes and employment applications of Traci Proctor, Director of Office of the Aging; Yolanda Robinson, Chief of Staff; and Loretta Hottinger, Corporation Counsel.
After I handed in the letter addressed to Loretta Hottinger, I had requested the records that Ms. Gears had told me were ready. After a few minutes or so, Ms. Gears returned to the front counter and said she was told to tell me by Assistant Corporation Counsel Joana Aggrey that I could not get the documents because I had an outstanding balance of $11.25. I then explained to Ms. Gears that I did not have an outstanding balance with the Department of Law. Ms. Gears then went back to Joana Aggrey and returned with a letter signed by Assistant Corporation Counsel Joana Aggrey. The letter was dated February 24th, 2010 and stated that I had an outstanding balance with the Department of Law. The letter also stated that all of my future FOIL requests will not be processed until the balance that I supposedly owed was paid in full. However, the letter drafted and signed by Joana Aggrey failed to disclose what records the outstanding balance was for.
After briefly analyzing the situation I realized that Ms. Gears was a referencing a FOIL request that I had submitted to the law department on September 28th, 2009 at 11:39 A.M. I had requested to inspect all investigative reports submitted to the Mayor, Comptroller, and/or the City Council by or on behalf of Inspector General Harry Stokes. The due date for me to receive the FOIL requests back from the City of Mount Vernon was October 27th, 2009.
On January 13th, 2010 I received a letter signed by Joana Aggrey stating the records that I requested were available. Ms. Aggrey stated that was a ($0.25) cent per page copying fee. As such, the total cost for the records is ($11.25). However, I never requested copies of the above mentioned records. I simply requested to inspect the records.
A few days later, I viewed the records and refused to pay for the records because I did not request copies of the records. After viewing the records I realized that they did not contain any new information. The records that were made available to me contained only two reports that were previously made public by the Inspector General. The reports were the OIG report on PILOTS and a report about ‘Abuse of Authority’. The latter report was about the controversial payments to the law firm of Wilson & Elser. Judge Rory Bellantoni ruled that the City Council ‘lacked authority’ when they illegally retained the law firm.
It was quite evident that Ms. Aggrey was angry that she was categorized as one of the ‘political prostitutes’ the night before. Her actions only validated my statement that ‘political prostitutes’ are the greatest threat to transparency and democracy in the City of Mount Vernon.
Loretta Hottinger and her trusted sidekick Joana Aggrey violate state and federal laws on daily basis. They are so afraid of the public; they sit in the back in their cubby holes while conveniently using their staff to do their dirty work. Hottinger and Aggrey are afraid of being caught on tape violating the NYS FOIL law and my federal civil rights as guaranteed by the United States Constitution.
The involvement of staff not familiar with the present situation at hand causes unnecessary stress and creates a work environment that is not conducive for conducting the people’s business. In the end it is only the taxpayers that suffer.
After a brief discussion with Ms. Gears, it was quite clear that her hands were tied and she was only following orders. Ms. Gears had a look of frustration on her face. Prior to Ms. Hottinger becoming Corporation Counsel, my requests were handled by Ms. Gears. Ms. Gears always treated me in a professional and courteous manner. She always kept me abreast on the statuses of my FOIL request.
After Ms. Hottinger took over as Corporation Counsel, service and professionalism in the law department started to rapidly go downhill. My FOIL requests were being extensively delayed and in many cases have gone unanswered. I was informed that Joana Aggrey was now my personal representative that handled only my FOIL requests. Ms. Gears was no longer handling my FOIL requests. I came to realize this by the shoddy service that I was now receiving.
During a January 8th, 2010 meeting that I had with Ms. Hottinger, I explained to her that I no longer wanted Joana Aggrey handling my FOIL requests. I further explained that it was a conflict of interest for her to handle my FOIL requests because her husband is John Boykin, the foul mouth punk that threatened me. I stated that Joana Aggrey is unable to carry out her duties in a fair and impartial manner. Hottinger disagreed. She refused to honor my request. That only validated my suspicions that that Joana Aggrey was screening my FOIL requests and was only letting me have the information that the powers that be told her to release to me.
I was continuing to read the paper that Ms.Gears had given to me signed by Joana Aggrey. Ms. Aggrey after a few minutes walked passed me as she was leaving the office. I tried to get her attention to get an understanding about the foolishness she had typed on the paper. After calling her name several times, she responded “I have nothing to say to you”. Joana Aggrey makes it a habit to leave the office when I come in. She knows that she is the only one that handles my FOIL requests so I must then wait for her to return to be serviced. I have been documenting her actions and reckless behavior for the past six months and in the coming days Joana Aggrey and Loretta Hottinger will be the recipients of several lawsuits.
The United States Constitution doesn’t mean anything to Loretta Hottinger and Joana Aggrey, specifically the 14th amendment, §1 to the United States Constitution.
The 14th Amendment §1 states:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
In addition to violating my Federal civil rights, Corporation Counsel Loretta Hottinger and Joana Aggrey violate systemically violate the NYS Freedom Of Information Law. In the letter that Ms. Aggrey has addressed to me she incorrectly cited the statute pertaining to FOIL requests. Ms. Aggrey stated, that the FOIL law provides agencies with a least 20 business days in which to respond to a request by either providing the records or state a date certain within a reasonable period in which record will be provided. After such time, the requestor has 30 days in which to file an appeal.
However, Ms. Aggrey was incorrect with her interpretation on the NYS Freedom of Information Law. The NYS Freedom of Information Law states:
Each entity subject to the provisions of this article, within five business days of the receipt of a written request for a record reasonably described, shall make such record available to the person requesting it, deny such request in writing or furnish a written acknowledgment of the receipt of such request and a statement of the approximate date, which shall be reasonable under the circumstances of the request, when such request will be granted or denied, including, where appropriate, a statement that access to the record will be determined in accordance with subdivision five of this section
After realizing that I wasn’t getting the service that was due to me, I informed the law department staff that I will sit there all day until I was serviced. I soon realized that they would enjoy me being inconvenienced, so I had to think of a better solution.
The Law Department then dispatched another imbecile, Assistant Corporation Counsel Hina Sherwani to the front counter to address my situation. I tried to explain the situation to Ms. Sherwani but I just couldn’t get through that thick head of hers. She kept insisting that I dispute the fees through an appeal. I kept telling her that wasn’t necessary and that we could straighten it out right then and there. Ms. Sherwani has also joined the gang of ‘political prostitutes’ running wild in Mount Vernon. After a few minutes Ms. Sherwani returned to her cubby hole. I displayed my dissatisfaction with her behavior by calling her an idiot.
I realized that Joana Aggrey, Hina Sherwani, and Loretta Hottinger in addition to violating my Federal civil rights were committing several crimes. I then decided to call the Mount Vernon Police Department. I knew this incident would be documented and I could use the testimony of the police officers in a court of law.
At 12:23 I called over to the police department requesting that an officer be dispatched to the City of Mount Vernon Law Department. After about 15 minutes or so, 3 police officers arrived to the Law Department. I explained to the officers the situation that was taking place and that the Law Department was trying to make me pay for goods that I did not receive. Even the police officer did not understand the foolishness written on the paper signed by Joana Aggrey.
I told the police officers that I wanted Joana Aggrey and Loretta Hottinger arrested and charged with the various crimes that were being committed. Specifically, tampering with public records in the 2nd Degree and Official Misconduct.
§ 175.20 of NYS Penal Law states:
§175.20 Tampering with public records in the second degree.
A person is guilty of tampering with public records in the second
degree when, knowing that he does not have the authority of anyone
entitled to grant it, he knowingly removes, mutilates, destroys,
conceals, makes a false entry in or falsely alters any record or other
written instrument filed with, deposited in, or otherwise constituting a
record of a public office or public servant.
Tampering with public records in the second degree is a Class A misdemeanor.
§195.00 of NYS Penal Law states:
195.00 Official misconduct.
A public servant is guilty of official misconduct when, with intent to
obtain a benefit or deprive another person of a benefit:
1. He commits an act relating to his office but constituting an
unauthorized exercise of his official functions, knowing that such act
is unauthorized; or
2. He knowingly refrains from performing a duty which is imposed upon
him by law or is clearly inherent in the nature of his office.
Official misconduct is a class A misdemeanor.
It was becoming increasingly clear that the police officers on the scene were not aware or familiar with the NYS Penal law or that the police officers were told not told arrest Loretta Hottinger and Joana Aggrey for the various crimes that were being committed. It was apparent that Mayor Young and/or the top brass at the MVPD were obstructing justice.
Just recently Governor Paterson announced that he was not seeking re-election due to speculation that he may have tampered with a criminal investigation involving one of his top aides. Mayor Young and/or top brass at MVPD were engaging in the same perfidious activities. A formal request for a criminal investigation into this matter was sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and The United States Attorney’s office.
One of the police officers went in the back to speak with Loretta Hottinger to discuss the matter. After a few minutes the officer returned. He stated that Ms. Hottinger requested that she doesn’t wish to speak with me.
Within 3 minutes of the officer’s return to the lobby of the Law Department, all of a sudden documents that I had requested in October 2009 were now being made available to me. It seemed as if someone was holding a match to their rear end. I have never seen the law department employees scurry in the past as I was witnessing today.
In the end, I received some of the documents that I requested. If I run into this situation in the future, I will call the Mount Vernon Police Department to the Law Department again to the Law Department. I will even make sure that a few news cameras and reporters show so up that the taxpayers of Mount Vernon can witness firsthand Loretta Hottinger, Hina Sherwani, and Joana Aggrey violating my civil rights and the NYS Penal Law.
Is Loretta Hottinger the type of person we would want to see as a Judge in the City of Mount Vernon?
Samuel L. Rivers
Mount Vernon Exposed™®