Opinion - Saratoga Springs Politics

The below blog posts are written by John Kaufmann.
These opinions do not reflect the views of Saratoga TODAY newspaper.

Thursday, 28 April 2022 11:19

Commissioner Montagnino’s Credibility Takes Another Hit

By John Kaufmann | Saratoga Springs Politics

In early April Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen harshly criticized Saratoga Springs Public Safety Commissioner James Montagnino for “inserting himself into an active police investigation being conducted by members of the Saratoga Springs Police Department” and then turning “to the media to publicize his premature and inaccurate take” on “an alleged incident involving several teenagers at a house party” that occurred in February.

Montagnino’s response was to tell the Times Union that “Heggen and Chief Shane Crooks who told the Times Union that the investigation was ongoing are ‘trying to rewrite history.’ “

Well, now it seems that Commissioner Montagnino was the one who was trying to “rewrite history.”

At the April 5 Saratoga Springs City Council meeting, Public Safety Commissioner James Montagnino waved a piece of paper claiming the investigation that involved a fight at a teen party the weekend of February 27th had been closed on March 1, 2022. According to him, this proved that Heggen and Crooks were wrong to refer to the investigation as “ongoing” and therefore he had not “inserted himself into an active police investigation ” as Heggen had charged.

I FOILed for any police documents related to the case. I have received the forty-seven-page police file. It is heavily redacted (blacked out text) but it is still revealing.

Below is the document displayed by Montagnino at the City Council meeting. This city is required to enter information on local cases into a state database. This is a printout from that database. There is no question that it includes a data point that the case was closed on March 1. Reliable sources tell me that the date was a clerical error.

foil-reply-sspd-file-601_page_47.webp

I am not including all the contents of the police file as I want to protect the names in it from social media abuse. The key thing that the file reveals, though, is that subsequent to March 1, 2022, at least four witnesses were interviewed by the police and signed affidavits. It is clear from the file that the investigation was ongoing and did not end on March 1 as claimed by Montagnino.

It begs credibility that Commissioner Montagnino was unaware of the ongoing investigation as, based on the documents, it involved multiple officers of varying ranks in his department.

I do not think it unfair to speculate that Commissioner Montagnino cynically cherry-picked this one document from all the records in the case file in order to mislead the public and try to clear his name from the serious charges made by Heggen.

If he did not know that his police officers were still investigating the incident, then it demonstrates how out-of-touch he is with the men and women who serve under him.

Read 2114 times

Saratoga Springs Politics

Blotter

  • POLICE Anthony J. Paradise Jr., 44, was charged June 9 with arson, burglary, criminal tampering, and criminal mischief – all felonies – in connection with an incident that occurred in the Town of Ballston on Nov. 27, 2017. According to the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office, Paradise is accused of spending several hours on the Curtis Lumber property on State Route 67 in the Town of Ballston after the business was closed, and allegedly sabotaged electrical and gas systems in several buildings, damaged buildings, and computer systems, tampered with the 911 system on the Verizon Wireless tower, and set fire a…

Property Transactions

  • BALLSTON Mullen Bros. Inc of North Adams sold property at 4 Mccrea Hill Rd to MCP Ballston Spa Properties LLC for $1,950,000 Walter Katz III sold property at 113 Powers Lane to Nicole Katz for $395,000. Edward Bodine sold property at 11 Kaleen Dr to David Mueller for $455,000. Traditional Homebuilders and Developers Inc sold property at 30 Mallory Way to Joseph Edinger for $484,980. High Rock Property Management LLC sold property at 36 Remsen St to Melissa Dandrea for $461,656. Daniel Dereski sold property at 17 Marlyn Dr to Anique Williams for $262,000. GALWAY Sara Heiligman sold property at…