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Debra S. Cohen Comments in the Yonkers Tribune Regarding the Filing of a Complaint Against the Village of Mamaroneck Alleging Violation of the First Amendment

NEW YORK, NY -- November 27, 2012 – Stuart Tiekert, a longtime resident of the Village of Mamaroneck, filed a civil rights lawsuit on November 7, 2012 in federal court in White Plains, New York against the Village, Mayor Norman Rosenblum and Village Manager Richard Slingerland alleging they have “engaged in a campaign of vindictiveness and retaliation in an effort to chill the meaningful participation of Mr. Tiekert, and other concerned residents, in the local governmental decision-making process.”

According to the federal complaint, Tiekert has taken an active interest in local community affairs, particularly regarding issues related to the integrity of the governmental decision-making process and how it affects the quality of life of his neighborhood and the Village as a whole. Over the years, he has filed legal challenges, filed numerous Freedom of Information requests to investigate Village conduct; regularly attended Village Board meetings to express his opinions; and, when necessary, petitioned state courts to reverse illegal or arbitrary and capricious conduct of Village officers and boards. According to the lawsuit, certain Village officials, notably Mayor Rosenblum and Village Manager Slingerland, have made no secret that they believe Mr. Tiekert’s persistent exercise of his First Amendment rights has imposed unwelcome expense and burden on the Village, and their animus towards him has led to increasingly blatant efforts to chill his exercise of his free speech rights.

Mr. Tiekert’s attorney, Debra S. Cohen of the law firm of Newman Ferrara LLP, said the lawsuit was filed after several incidents occurred where he was prevented from making public comments at Village Board meetings and increasingly hostile, retaliatory actions were directed against him and other community activists by Village officials. According to Cohen, the decision to file the lawsuit was made after the July 16, 2012, Village Board meeting when Mayor Rosenblum denied Mr. Tiekert an opportunity to speak during the meeting’s public comment session and ordered a police officer to remove him from the podium. Mr. Tiekert recalled that “After months of increasing harassment and threats from the Village, when the Mayor ordered the police to stop me from speaking I knew this had to stop.” Cohen explained that “Mr. Tiekert felt that Village officials were becoming so cavalier about abusing their authority and ignoring people’s rights, that it was time for someone to take a stand.”

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