Saratoga Springs Mayor Ron Kim has issued a press release and posted an article on the city’s website announcing his victory in the lawsuit he brought appealing a decision by City Court Judge Jeffrey Wait. Rather than a victory, though, it is simply one more example of a waste of city funds by this administration.
The original case involved Jeffery Dumont, who had commenced work on a city property he owned without securing a building permit (City of Saratoga Springs v. Church Street Trust).
When the city originally brought its action against Mr. Dumont in Judge Wait’s City Court, Dumont pleaded guilty. The court then gave him a certain amount of time to come into compliance. On January 20, 2022, the court convened again to determine if Mr. Dumont had addressed the code violations, but Mayor Kim had now taken office and had not hired a city attorney. There was no one to represent the city in court. (I discuss the fiasco in a series of earlier posts.) Noting the city’s failure to appear in court, Judge Wait dismissed Dumont’s guilty plea.
Kim appealed Wait’s ruling and the judge who handled Kim’s appeal ruled that Judge Wait did not have the authority to dismiss Dumont’s guilty plea. As a result, the court re-instated Dumont’s guilty plea.
A Waste of Time and Money
The successful appeal that reinstated Dumont’s guilty plea had no material effect on the case. The city had a right to bring back its charges against Dumont anyway. It actually had already done this following Judge Wait’s ruling and before the appeal was decided.
In fact,Dumont and the city’s code enforcement department were before Judge Wait in court several weeks ago. At that hearing, the city asked for an adjournment for sixty days to allow Dumont to come into compliance.
It is important to understand that all of this would have been done whether or not Kim prevailed in his suit. Dumont has not gotten his building permit, and he will not receive it unless he complies with the city’s code. The only thing achieved by this suit is that the taxpayers are out thousands of dollars, and Kim can claim a hollow victory.
This is a prime example of how to waste public money.