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 1787 times

Saratoga Springs Politics

Blotter

  • COURT Rebecca Ann Wheland-Kruger, 45, of Clifton Park, was sentenced May 13 to 1 year incarceration, after pleading to criminal contempt in the second-degree. Luke P. Dashnaw, 22, of Clifton Park, pleaded May 13 to promoting a sexual performance by a child. Sentencing July 15. POLICE Lacey Fisher, 38, of Gansevoort, was charged in Saratoga Springs May 16 with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, operating a motor vehicle without insurance, without inspection certificate, and with registration suspended.  Chad Lang, 48, of Saratoga Springs, was charged May 16 with burglary, criminal mischief, and criminal tampering.  Amanda Russell, 41, of…

Property Transactions

  • BALLSTON Richard Stokna sold property at 108 Ballston Ave to Paul Galchus for $220,000 Kathleen Kalesa sold property at 58 Cypress St to Laura Cimmino for $400,000. Michaels and Laraway Holdings LLC sold property at 21 Summerhill Dr to Jonathan George for $584,075. Helen Lucas sold property at 40 Everson Way to John Simpson for $400,000. DHFO LLC sold property at 257 Round Lake Rd to Michaels Group Homes LLC for $912,500. Bonny Boice sold property at 359 Goode St to Kristen Lyons for $225,000. Wendy Merton sold property at 862 State Route 50 to Patrick Fenton for $298,000. Michaels…