Attorney disputes police reports in Sno Kone Joe case
GLOVERSVILLE – Although no decision was made Monday about whether the owner of Sno Kone Joe will be able to sell ice cream in the city, Amanda Scott’s attorney used the hearing to dispute the reports made by police that were the basis for denying the permit.
The fourth day of testimony was heard by state Supreme Court Justice Joseph Sise in the lawsuit against the city, which came after Scott and Joshua Malatino were charged with stalking and harassment of Mr. Ding-A-Ling driver Phillip Hollister.
Sno Kone Joe’s permit was up for renewal, but Police Chief Donald VanDeusen recommended Mayor Dayton King not reissue the permit. King told the city clerk not to renew the permit, which resulted in the court case.
In court documents filed in the case, the city Police Department described a history of incidents involving the pair of Sno Kone Joe operators dating back to 2009. The 10 incidents involved either Malatino or Scott, who both operate the trucks.
However, most of the incidents involved Malatino and not Scott.
The attorney representing the two, Bill Lorman, had Malatino take the stand Monday.
Malatino said he is unemployed and disabled due to multiple neck injuries. He said he has been driving the ice cream truck as a volunteer for the last eight years and has received no compensation for his time.
Malatino said when he started volunteering, the owner was Blasper Inc. – co-owned by Don Blanchard and Malatino’s stepfather Jim Esper – and later when he became involved with Scott, she took over the business and he continued to volunteer his time.
Lorman said during court he believes the denial of Scott’s permit was “guilt by association” and went on to try to disprove the police reports used by the city.
Malatino said under oath he never offered free ice cream near another ice cream truck in an attempt to take away potential customer. He also denied yelling that he controls the city’s ice cream market to any of his competitors.
He said when he did encounter Hollister or the previous driver of that truck, R.J. Insognia, the two trucks simply crossed paths and never had any disputes.
Malatino said Hollister was antagonizing him by using his Sno Kone Joe’s song when the two ice cream vendors crossed paths on one of the city’s roadways earlier this year.
Malatino and his attorney also tried to disprove VanDeusen’s report of the day he tried to get Malatino to move his truck in front of Boulevard Elementary School.
Malatino said the Sno Kone Joe business has been using the same spot in front of the school when the children leave for the last 44 years.
Malatino said he didn’t move upon the chief’s first request to move, but instead argued he wasn’t parked in the no-parking zone but rather standing because his truck was still on and idling.
He said he was issued a ticket that day for a parking violation; however, VanDeusen later called him into the station and threw the ticket out, claiming the sign wasn’t up to the City Code.
Michael Albanese, who is representing the city, used his cross examination to portray Malatino as a person with a history of confrontations.
The police chief is expected to take the stand Thursday at 1 p.m., which will be followed by Albanese calling additional witnesses to testify on the city’s behalf.