North Collins Highway Superintendent David J. “Kissy” Winter seemed chastened Thursday morning when he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct for pouring urine on the seat of an SUV owned by an Eden man.
“It’s a private and confidential matter,” Winter told The Buffalo News after his court appearance. “I’m glad it’s over.”
Hamburg Town Justice Gerald P. Gorman ordered Winter to pay restitution and obey an order of protection to stay away from the victim for one year.
Winter apologized to the judge for his actions.
“He’s very sorry, especially for the people of the town of North Collins for any hardship or embarrassment he caused them,” said Daniel Chiacchia, Winter’s attorney. “During his tenure as superintendent, he’s done an excellent job. There’s been over half a million dollars in surplus since he took over.”
Winter, 54, had been charged with second-degree criminal mischief, a felony, for dumping human urine into the front seat of the victim’s Chevrolet Suburban about 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 13. He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, which is a violation.
He arrived in court looking humbled and wearing starched white painters’ pants, a blue sport coat, bolo tie and carrying a white cowboy hat, unlike the smiling man who was pictured in overalls and trademark cowboy hat on cutout figures on campaign signs last year.
The victim, who is a friend of a former girlfriend of Winter’s, told Erie County sheriff’s deputies he and his brother were shopping at Gui’s Lumber in North Collins when Winter approached them and made some crude jokes. When he left the store, he saw Winter parked in a North Collins Highway Department truck next to his Suburban. The window in the victim’s vehicle was open.
Then the victim discovered the liquid, which he said was running from under the driver’s door.
Sheriff’s deputies found Winter at a town park on Langford Road, and he told them it was human urine in the SUV.
“Sometimes when emotions rise, we don’t always exercise the best judgment,” Chiacchia said.
Gorman told Winter to pay $4,367.51 restitution for the seat and carpeting that had to be replaced in the victim’s vehicle. He also ordered Winter to be a law-abiding citizen, and waived the court surcharge. Winter waived his right to appeal.
Over the years, Winter has not shied from controversy, raising the ire of some when he hired his son as a machine operator in the Highway Department, and rebuilt old Rocky Mountain Road, which nearby property owners said was an abandoned road and not owned by the town. This latest incident has prompted some to call for his removal, or to convert the highway superintendent’s job from an elected position to one appointed by the Town Board.