Thursday, October 14, 2010

Victory 'Lap': Westchester Weekly Scores $8m Verdict Against Mayor

Seal of the United States District Court for t...Image via Wikipedia
Trade journal Editor & Publisher reports that Yonkers (N.Y.) Mayor Philip Amicone this week was socked with an $8 million verdict in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in a civil rights lawsuit brought by Sam Zherka, publisher of the weekly Westchester Guardian.

Filed in October 2007, Zherka v. Amicone (Case No. 7:2007cv09618), alleged that Amicone had news racks confiscated and copies of the Guardian seized in Summer 2007 after the paper published negative articles about him. The Guardian claimed police were ticketing Guardian employees who distributed the weekly in the streets.

It was a not good week for Amicone overall, as he also lost his defamation suit against the Guardian that arose from a 2007 election eve Guardian story that alleged Amicone frequented gentlemen's clubs and had received a lap dance.

Zherka brought a civil rights claim against Amicone under 42 U.S.C. sec. 1983, which in relevant part states:

"Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress..."

In the you can't make this stuff up category, Zherka apparently also owns the strip club where the celebrated mayoral lap dance allegedly occurred, according to The Journal News in White Plains (N.Y.).  Mayor Amicone isn't the only loser in this case as Zherka claims the lap dancer never received her $20 fee from the mayor for her efforts.

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