LOCKPORT – David J. Mongielo was ejected from Town Hall during the public comment period at Wednesday’s Town Board meeting for verbally attacking Town Attorney Daniel E. Seaman over his drunken driving arrest last year.
After recommending pay cuts for Town Board members, Mongielo went after Seaman, who was arrested March 30, 2011, on Crosby Road, when his pickup truck ran off the road.
State police charged Seaman with driving while intoxicated. The charge was later reduced to driving while impaired, and Seaman was acquitted of that in a 45-minute nonjury trial in Niagara Falls City Court on Nov. 14.
The case was moved there after both Lockport justices recused themselves, and a prosecutor was imported from Orleans County because Seaman’s son is a Niagara County assistant district attorney. The judge in the trial was Mark A. Violante, brother of Niagara County District Attorney Michael J. Violante.
“You got stuck in the mud. You crashed your truck,” Mongielo said of Seaman. “When the residents came out to help you, you used not-nice language.”
Supervisor Marc R. Smith warned Mongielo that the rules of the public comment period prohibited personal attacks on town officials. “This is a direct attack. You know what the rules are,” Smith said.
“He’s a town employee. He makes more than $100,000 a year. He used political power to avoid the charges. He refused the breath test,” Mongielo said.
“I’m cutting you off,” Smith said. “Please take a seat or you’ll be escorted from the building.”
“So you’re limiting my right of free speech?” Mongielo asked. A security officer then escorted Mongielo out.
Mongielo, a former supervisor candidate and former Republican committeeman, has been fighting the town administration over political matters, as well as the town’s law against flashing signs, which Mongielo was twice convicted of violating.
However, on Sept. 21, town prosecutor Bradley Marble conceded that Mongielo should have had a jury trial instead of being tried by Town Justice Raymond E. Schilling.