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The Saratogian Newsroom blog, complete with thoughts and commentary from our newsroom staff and regular posts on happenings around town.

Friday, September 14

Hostile witness

Perhaps the most interesting part of an uninteresting hearing Thursday afternoon on the potential termination of Mary Zlotnick (it was horribly boring and horribly long), was the first 20 minutes or so, when blogger John Tighe revealed that he had been subpoenaed by the city for the hearing.

Of course he had a few things to say on his blog, Saratoga In Decline, about this. (Be warned, if you had delicate sensibilities, this is not a blog for you)

The issue came to a head when Tighe brought in his attorney, Andrew McNamara, who argued that the subpeona was invalid because it was only handed to him at 9:30 a.m. for the 10 a.m. hearing.

"The notice required makes this clearly invalid," McNamara said.

What made the issue more salient, too, was that he had to be sequestered as a witness, so he was asked to step out into the hallway during the hearing.

Both McNemara and Tighe argued that the subpeona was intended to "suppress the dissemination of information," since he would have undoubtedly blogged about it.

Hearing Officer Christopher Nicolino said "I assume the attorneys in this proceeding will act in good faith" and not practice in "underhanded tactics" and again asked him to step out of the room.

"So you expect me to wait in the hallway for the entire day?" Tighe asked.

Nicolino said he's never known a witness to like it, so "you're not alone." 

When I asked Mark McCarthy of Harris Beach representing the city about whether it was to keep Tighe from writing, he literally laughed heartily. He said he would have to subpoena all of us (Me, Dennis Yusko, Lee Coleman and Dale Willman of Saratoga Wire, who was also there) to keep the information from getting out. Still, when info comes out from us, it doesn't have quite the same... flavor... as when it comes from Tighe.

McCarthy said it was because he was going to use some of Tighe's blog as evidence of information disseminated by Zlotnick (one of the charges is she went to the media and made allegations of wrongdoing) and he wanted to make sure he could confirm the authenticity of the blog through Tighe.

As a hostile witness, too, Tighe was paid for his time.

"I guess they think my time is worth $25," Tighe said. That wouldn't have added up to much per hour if he had actually waited around. As it happens, he was told he could come back after 1 p.m., but didn't.

"I guess he didn't think much of the subpeona," McCarthy said in hour seven of the hearing at just after 5 p.m. when Tighe was still nowhere to be seen.

Of course, since he wouldn't have been called anyway and if he had come back at 1 p.m. he would have been paid roughly $5 an hour, I guess they didn't think much of his time. 


Blogger Ben lives on said...

After conferring with my attorney I refused to recognize the validity of the subpoena and I hereby refuse to testify in the proceedings.
I am also filing a complaint with the State of New York Supreme Court,
Appellate Division
Third Judicial Department
Committee on Professional Standards
Against Mark McCarthy for knowingly serving a flawed legal instrument against me. An action that was motivated, not by justice but by his desire to keep me from writing about the proceeding on my blog.
John Tighe

September 14, 2012 at 8:43 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your coverage of this Lucian. It's a welcome relief from the rants and disinformation on blogs,

September 14, 2012 at 10:52 PM 
Blogger Lucian said...

Let us know how things turn out John, it seemed like pretty late notice. But if you were intent on sticking around for the proceedings let me assure you that you dodged a bullet.

September 14, 2012 at 11:40 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lucien, good coverage. Although this is going to be a fair hearing for Zlotnick remember SHE wanted a public hearing and wanted HER OWN ATTOENEY. As far as the normal thinking citizens in Saratoga It seems Franck did nothing wrong except to hire Zlotnick, he sure hasn't done anything that the blogger Tighe has accused him of.

September 15, 2012 at 12:07 AM 
Anonymous John franck Damage Control team said...

Yes we have not done anything wrong. It is ok to deceive the taxpayers of Saratoga who are not educated on the assessment process. Its also ok to work with an outside source(Diane Young)to coach her on who and how to approach to get breaks on condo assessments. Also ok to give your own properties tax breaks. There also is nothing wrong with not disclosing that there were mistakes in the process and trying to correct it without anyoneknowing. Then when caught doing ths just blamed the last assessor for the screwup. We are allowed to do anything we want. We think that everyone else should be transparent but we don't have to be. We could care less about the Perception is Reality concept.

September 15, 2012 at 2:09 PM 
Anonymous Lacy Underall said...

More smoke and mirrors by Franck pulling this trick to keep John Tighe out of there. Why is he going to great lengths to cover all his bases? People on the street call it running scared.

September 17, 2012 at 6:37 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lucian, you give too much credit to Tighe. He wants to keep this festering when day after day it looks like Franck did nothing wrong.
Also on your article dealing with the Mayor appointing a Commission, the question I would have liked to have seen you pose to the Mayor was, 'why 4 years after saying over that course he was going to or considering appointing one and 6 weeks before the election at that, when his Commission cannot do anything until after the election'. But is the Mayor must be hands off for the Saratogian?

September 18, 2012 at 11:41 AM 

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