Witness: No problems between vendors

GLOVERSVILLE – One of the operators of the Sno Kone Joe ice cream trucks who was charged last week with harassing a competitor was in court Wednesday fighting the city’s decision to not renew her permit.

Amanda C. Scott, 21, appeared in court Wednesday before state Supreme Court Justice Joseph Sise.

A witness who testified Wednesday said she did not see any problems April 28 between Sno Kone Joe and a competitor, Mr. Ding-A-Ling.

Scott and Joshua V. Malatino, 34, both of 62 East Blvd., last week were charged with second-degree harassment, a violation, and fourth-degree stalking, a misdemeanor. Police said the two were trying to keep Mr. Ding-A-Ling from selling ice cream in the city.

Sno Kone Joe’s permit was up for renewal Saturday, but Police Chief Donald VanDeusen recommended Mayor Dayton King not reissue the permit, and King told the city clerk not to renew it.

Attorneys for both sides appeared Wednesday before Sise, who granted Scott a hearing to determine whether her permit was wrongly denied.

Scott, whom court documents list as the owner and operator of the business, filed a lawsuit against city officials through her attorney, Bill Lorman of Amsterdam.

“Under oath I advise this Court that I did not engage in any of this alleged behavior,” Scott said in the document.

In the lawsuit, Scott asked for the city to be ordered to renew the permit until the dispute was resolved in court.

Sise declined to issue that request and set a hearing that started Wednesday, with one of Lorman’s witnesses taking the stand.

Devyn M. Crocetta, of Spring Street, testified she was first in line at the Sno Kone Joe truck April 28, one of the dates Hollister alleges he was harassed.

Crocetta testified she purchased an Italian ice and was around the trucks for about six minutes before leaving. She said the Mr. Ding-A-Ling truck was about five houses down the road. Crocetta said she did not witness any negative behavior in the time she was at the scene.

Crocetta also said she didn’t hear Sno Kone Joe – being operated by Malatino – say anything about free ice cream and clarified she has no relationship with either driver other than purchasing ice cream from Sno Kone Joe.

The hearing is scheduled to resume Tuesday.

Scott’s argument is based on past dealings with the city of Gloversville as it relates to acquiring her vending permit.

According to the court document, Scott previously received a one-month vendor license that included a “satisfactory background check” from the Police Department.

“It is respectfully submitted that the city of Gloversville’s refusal to extend my permit is arbitrary and capricious, unreasonable and unsupported by any substantial evidence and contrary to the law,” Scott’s complaint states.

In the court documents filed by Attorney Michael Albanese, who is representing the city in this matter, Chief VanDeusen gives 10 instances where the police became involved with Malatino or Scott dating back to 2009.

“The reason for my recommendation was based upon the facts of a number of public incidents involving said Amanda C. Scott, as owner of Sno Kone Joe Ice Cream, doing business as Sno Kone Joe, as well as her boyfriend, Joshua Malatino,” VanDeusen said in the court documents.

The incidents provided in the document range from disputes between Malatino and customers to disputes that happened outside of the ice cream business.

Albanese claims the representatives of the city clearly followed the lawful procedures as set out in the City Code, court documents said.

According to the city code, grounds for denial of license can include “circumstances or conditions contrary to the General Business Law, Vehicle and Traffic Law, Penal Law or other applicable statute.” It also says background checks revealing convictions of harassment can be used as reasons for denial.

However, the criminal charges against Malatino and Scott haven’t been decided in court.

The hearing on the permit issue was adjourned until Tuesday 9:30 a.m. in Fulton County Court, so the attorney’s could have more time to schedule witnesses.

VanDeusen said he will not comment on the issue any further on the issue until the hearing is completed.

King said he will continue to stand behind the city’s actions.

“I want to look out for the children and the adults in the community,” King said.

He said there’s no “vendetta” against Sno Kone Joe’s operators as they have claimed.

“There is absolutely no vendetta,” King said. “We enforce the laws equally here in Gloversville.”