It's a Bad Look To Arrest Citizens in City Hall - Granite Grok

It’s a Bad Look To Arrest Citizens in City Hall

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At the June 30, 2021 Board of Assessor’s meeting, Deputy Attorney Celia Leonard made a statement on record regarding my February 17, 2021 arrest in City Hall.

Ms. Ortolano’s … It is because she forced her way into the locked legal office, sat in front of my office, and would not leave until the police came. It had nothing to do with time or date stamping, assessment or abatement applications. As Ms. Ortolano is well aware, the legal office does not do that.

It was a shameful, unwarranted arrest for Deputy Attorney Celia Leonard, Attorney Steve Bolton, Mayor Donchess, and Chief Michael Carignan to order. The arrest was made 26 days after the police escorted me from the building, determining, at that time, that the “incident” required no action.

Here is what Deputy Attorney Celia Leonard knew:

  • The city website did not say the Legal office was closed or appointments were necessary.
  • She was not in the office when I walked into the legal office, fabricating the “forced” entry without being present.
  • The Assessing Office policy for processing abatement applications requires the office to provide an immediate date/time stamp to the property owner as proof of receipt.
  • There were no provisions set up by the City to accommodate property owners to comply with city policy and provide an in-person receipt.
  • We were in the midst of a pandemic and the assessing office was closed with construction delays.
  • The legal office was responding to questions citizens had about the processing of the abatement applications.
  • She made a choice that day to not assist a citizen with a reasonable business request.
  • She made the choice to view my trip to the legal office as a matter of trespassing.
  • She fabricated my actions as hostile and threatening.

I was welcomed into City Hall, as no appointment was necessary for my requested business, on January 22, 2021 by the entry person. I had no intention of going to the legal office that day, but when other city offices were closed, I knew the legal office would have the ability to provide a receipt.

That day in City Hall, I was representing two senior citizens having prepared their property abatement applications. The City was heavily overtaxing some property owners in a mobile home park. I stayed in the legal office, sat in the legal hallway in a quiet protest waiting for someone to help me. Rather than just stamping the applications and sending me on my way, the legal office called the police.

The City Attorney’s (Steve Bolton), Mayor Jim Donchess, and Chief Michael Carignan concocted a story and described my entry into City Hall equivalent to the insurrectionist that stormed the DC Capitol, slamming me with a felony misdemeanor A and requesting a year in jail. It was a bogus arrest that should have never happened. It is a bad look when citizens are arrested in City Hall for attempting to perform routine business. It is time for some leadership changes in this City.

By the way, the two property owners won their abatements and are saving $4,000 over the next two years – a cause worthy of a peaceful protest.