Embattled Monticello Mayor: Jenkins arrested
Story by Eli Ruiz
MONTICELLO November 19, 2013 Village of Monticello Mayor Gordon Jenkins’ troubled tenure as Monticello’s top official took another twist Saturday evening when he was once again arrested in the village for which he also acts as manager.
According to a police report, at 7:49 p.m. Saturday Jenkins was pulled over on Fairchild Place by Monticello Police Lt. Mark Johnstone for unreasonable speed and failure to keep right; driving while intoxicated as a first offense, a misdemeanor; and refusing a chemical test.
Once in police custody, though, Jenkins would additionally be charged with two counts of obstructing governmental administration, stemming from his refusal to comply with the arrest process; and criminal mischief, stemming from Jenkins allegedly “damaging police department property while in custody.” Jenkins allegedly punched and damaged a wall clock at the village police department while being booked.
Trouble began for Jenkins after he’d reportedly spent the majority of the early day Saturday in the Sullivan County wilderness hunting.
A source told the Democrat that Jenkins was at a neighbor’s party when he received news of a motor vehicle accident (MVA) on Broadway in the village.
At 7:07 p.m. Saturday evening, a three-car motor vehicle accident on the village’s main thoroughfare left two vehicles overturned near the Chinatown Kitchen establishment.
It is alleged that a volunteer firefighter noticed the mayor “wasn’t acting right” at the scene and informed police.
According to Monticello PO John Riegler, “The fire police were on the scene and he [Jenkins] kind of got in the way. I guess one of the guys [fire-police] asked him to back up and he noticed when the mayor responded that he [Jenkins] seemed out of sorts, like he may have been drunk, so the State Police and one of our guys were informed [that Jenkins may have been inebriated]. Once he [Jenkins] left the scene one of our guys [Lt. Johnstone] followed him and subsequently pulled him over.”
In a telephone interview with the Democrat, Jenkins said, “I really have no comment for the press at this time. I’ll be meeting with my lawyer later today and will have a press release ready shortly.” Asked if he was on the Broadway accident scene to help, Jenkins said, “Of course I was there to help.”
Jenkins has reportedly retained noted civil rights attorney Michael Sussman to represent him. A secretary at Sussman’s Goshen office said, “Mr. Jenkins will be meeting with Mr. Sussman later this afternoon and they will then be releasing a statement we’ll be forwarding to the press.”
Village Trustee Carmen Rue called for Jenkins’ immediate resignation as mayor and removal from his acting manager post. “He [Jenkins] absolutely needs to resign,” offered Rue. “This is not the first time [that Jenkins has been arrested] . . . it’s over and over again for him and that’s unfortunately not the only issues. This mayor/manager went and tore down a municipal building [the old Village Courthouse] without board approval. He hired a contractor to do this work without board approval and that’s just recently. He needs to resign, not just for the people of the village, but for himself so that he can get himself together and resolve any issues he may have. “
“I actually feel very bad about this,” continued Rue, who added, “I call on Reverend Mathews [Village Trustee James Mathews] and Larissa [Village Trustee Larissa Bennett] to do the right thing and fire the mayor as acting manager. We need to go through the application process and hire a professional village manager. Someone who is qualified and has the people’s interest at mind. This is a huge black eye for this village. It’s an embarrassment all the way down to New York City. Enough is enough already… he [Jenkins] cannot manage this village properly and it’s apparent.”
Jenkins was arraigned Sunday morning at Town of Forestburgh Court and remanded to Sullivan County Jail in lieu of $2,500 bail. He is scheduled to appear at Village of Monticello Justice Court on November 22.
Mayor issues response via attorney
Monticello Mayor Gordon Jenkins’ attorney, Michael Sussman, released this statement late yesterday:
“On Saturday evening, November 16, 2013, our client, Mayor Gordon Jenkins, was attending a social event in Monticello. While at the event, he learned of what he believed was a serious auto accident a short distance away. He drove to the scene to see whether he could assist anyone injured.
After determining that the local fire and police authorities were in control of the situation, Mayor Jenkins began returning to the social engagement. In this process, local police authorities stopped the mayor and accused him of a misdemeanor DWI.
At the police station, the mayor was frustrated at what he saw as continued efforts to single him out for prosecution. His frustration led to further discord with members of the Monticello Police Department and the lodging of additional charges.
Mayor Jenkins rejects calls for his resignation. He believes he is fully capable of fulfilling the duties of mayor and village manager, as he has been doing. He will answer the charges against him in a respectful and professional manner. In this process, he expects no treatment different than any other citizen. He expects the presumption of innocence to follow him as it does others. And he expects to be held accountable for any wrongdoing it is found he committed.”