Sunday, April 1, 2012

To Deny And Deflect

Dennis Martinek and Ken O’Brien

Updated 4/1/2012, 7:58 pm


Back in the beginning of August, Dennis Martinek sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Town Clerk which read in part:

“Pursuant to the Public Records Law, M.G.L. c. 66, as amended, and the Public Records Access Regulations, 950 CMR 32.00 et seq., I am requesting the following public records in the possesion, custody or control of the Town of Southbridge, and its agencies, divisions, or offices:…

4.   All copies of documents, memorandums, including but not limited to the complaint filed against Twelve Crane during their "rave" last year, including the documents related to, including the final determination of, whether or not the sons owner was in possession of fertilizer or illegal drugs, as noted in the report by the police.”

Finally, at the beginning of March, Mr. Martinek received the following reply from the Chief of  Police:








































As a result, Mr. Martinek emailed the following response to the Chief on March 27.

Sent: Tue, Mar 27, 2012 05:26 PM
Dan,
I am in receipt of your undated letter that I received the first week of March.
Yesterday, I spoke with both the Secretary of State's office, as well as the Worcester County District Attorney's Office.
The latter had no idea as to why I was directed by you to them, but I told the gentleman that I spoke with that I will be sending him this letter, as well as your email correspondence of December 4th, 2011, where you stated emphatically that you had sent my requested information to me the week before (November 2011).
As you recall, I responded by letting you know that I had not received it, and to resend it (but I never did). That was the nature of my complaint to the Secretary of State's office yesterday, that you stated you sent it, and then, two months later, got advice not to send...what you had already stated that you sent.
Moments ago, I got off the phone with Rob Caprera, who stated that he knew nothing of this, so obviously, he's not the unnamed attorney for the town that you referenced in your letter.
As I conveyed to Rob, not fulfilling my FOIA request is getting old, and as a result, I am planning on filing a complaint with both the District Attorney's Office, the Secretary of State's office, and the Attorney General's office.
Getting a copy of the disposition of the criminal case from December 3, 2010, only shows that the Commonwealth and the accused asked for, and received a dismissal, with probation, but not the reason why?
It never states one way or the other what the alleged substance was, which, if you check the news archives, you stated would take nine-months to discover. It's now been 21 months, and the public doesn't know, but I believe they have the right to know. Was it fertilizer, or was it cocaine?
If it was the former, it was something that could easily could have been avoided with a field test kit, and I presume that the results would have been quickly released if it were fertilizer. If it was the latter, why was it dismissed?
This incident took place within 1,000 feet of a school, Trinity Catholic Academy, that my children attend, which is why I am livid over this matter.
Rob had suggested speaking with you, which I'm open to on the phone, but if it's going to be more of the same, I'm better off filing my complaints, which will also include a complaint for not applying the law equally to all.
Despite what you may think, I am not unreasonable, but the reality of the situation, in my eyes, is this:
If the person who went to court with drug allegations were me, it would have been made very public. Had I stolen money from a drug bust, my intuition tells me that I would have been prosecuted as well. The same goes if I took a large sum of money from a non-profit organization...I doubt that I would just be allowed to pay it back.
I find it quite sad that in a town like Southbridge, that if your last name is Rodriguez, Martinez, Martinek or Gonzalez, the law seems to be applied much differently than if your name is Martin, Carter, White, or Johnson.
The law is supposed to be applied equally to all in this town. The crime of drug possession with the intent to sell, in a school zone, is a serious issue. If crimes like these are going to be silently dropped, without explanation, then all of the "Drug Free Zone" signs should be taken down, since there is no serious intent to apply it but to a select few.
Looking forward to your response.
Regards,
Dennis


I suspect more people than just Dennis are looking forward to the response.



-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
UPDATE:
Dennis has provided the following exchange between himself and Chief Charette in October, November and December.

From: Daniel Charette
Date: 10/13/11 08:59:20
To: dennis.martinek
Subject: Information Request
Dennis,
In response to your information request:
In regards to your first request, on February18, 2011 Nick Tortis came to the Southbridge Police Department. He spoke to Detective Sullivan and explained that an Internet blog entitled "speakoutsouthbridge" had a comment on it from someone identified as "mime" stating, in part, that the Town of Southbridge Building Inspector had sexually harassed someone. This comment concerned Mr. Tortis because he is the current Building Inspector, has been for many years, and has never been charged with sexual harassment. Detective Sullivan checked with the DA's Office, and was advised that this did not rise to the level of criminal, but could could certainly be pursued as a civil complaint. Mr. Tortis was advised of this and no further action was taken by the Southbridge Police.
In the second part of your first request, you ask about a complaint filed against you. Yes, Mr. Tortis filed a complaint but in the usual meaning of that term for police activity, no complaint was ever filed with the court.
In regards to the second bullet that you had labeled 1. in terms of Detective Sullivan activity logs, land lines, and cell phone records: the Police Department keeps a log of calls that details most of the activities addressed everyday by all personnel. There is no such thing as Detective Sullivan's activities log and there is no such thing as Detective Sullivan's land line record. Detective Sullivan informed me that he never called you from his cell phone.
The last request you made, regarding John McCarthy: I have communicated with Attorney John Carey, he advised me that this information is protected by the CORIE statutes. I cannot provide this information without a written release from Mr. McCarthy regarding a CORIE check on him.
--
Chief Daniel Charette
Southbridge Police Department
1 Mechanic Street
Southbridge, MA 01550
508-765-4-5420


From: Dennis J. Martinek
Date: 10/20/2011 9:20:48 PM
To: Daniel Charette
Subject: Re: Information Request
Dan,
I'm forwarding this response, as well as a copy of your next response to this email, regarding both items I requested, to my contact at the Secretary of State's office, as well as a group at Boston University, who are looking at complaints of non-compliance of FOIA requests. The SOS has been in touch with the Town Manager already regarding my complaint of non-compliance with these requests.
I asked for the results of the drugs that were seized by the Southbridge Police at the Rave for the person in question, that you mentioned last year would take up to 9 months to determine what they were.
Are you trying to tell me I have to get Mr. McCarthy's permission to release the test's that the police ran on the substances seized? It is not his right to approve or deny this request. It was part of a police investigation, and it's not a request for any personal drug test conducted on his person.
Please fulfill this request as originally requested.
Additionally, I would like a record of who requested police presence at last night's meeting, and what the cost of this unnecessary detail was.
Regards,
dm


From: Daniel Charette
Date: 12/04/11 17:41:32
To: Dennis J. Martinek
Subject: Re: Fw: Re: Information Request

Actually I replied to them 5 days ago.

Chief Daniel Charette
Southbridge Police Department
1 Mechanic Street
Southbridge, MA 01550
508-764-5420

On Dec 4, 2011 3:27 PM, "Dennis J. Martinek" wrote:
Danny,
I've been waiting now for your response to me inquiry below.
You never provided me with the complaint for which you gave legal advice to Nick Tortis.
You also never provided me with the SPD's results of the drug test on the drugs seized in the Rave.
So, I have filed another complaint with the SOS's office, since your non-compliance is deafening.
You had ten days to respond, and as you well know, you've blown that time frame.
I will include this as an update to the SOS's office, showing you willingness to turn a blind eye to the law.
Dennis




6 comments:

  1. Its not surprising that Southbridge has its own version of the 1 percent. Its disturbing how many of them don't live here.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What's more disturbing is the email that Charette sent to me December 4th, 2011, I believe it was. Ken has it. Wait until he prints it. It shows what a damn liar Charette is. Trust me, you'll know when you see it.

    In the meantime, since the SNEWS refused to print my letter, calling for a boycott of the paper until it hires reporters instead of repeaters (just look at their childish advertisement for a reporter: you must have a camera--high class!), I would like to encourage those of you that are reading that trash to cancel your subscriptions and/or stop buying it.

    Instead, if one out of ten of you buys it and shares it, not only will you save the environment, but you can hurt Tremblay where he feels it the most:

    In the pocket.

    Then, maybe he'll have the guts to respond to people like myself.

    Cheers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've posted the additional material as an update.

      Sorry for the delay.

      Delete
    2. For the sake of completeness in understanding the additional updated material, here is the full text of Dennis' FOIA request from August:

      Pursuant to the Public Records Law, M.G.L. c. 66, as amended, and the Public Records Access Regulations, 950 CMR 32.00 et seq., I am requesting the following public records in the possesion, custody or control of the Town of Southbridge, and its agencies, divisions, or offices:

      1. All copies of documents, memorandums, including but not limited to the complaint filed against Dennis Martinek in or around February of 2011;

      2. All copies of documents, memorandums, including but not limited to the complaint filed against Father Peter Preble beginning in or around June of 2011;

      3. All copies of documents, memorandums, including but not limited to the complaint filed against Ann Beinema regarding her service on the Board of Health from January of 2011 forward;

      4. All copies of documents, memorandums, including but not limited to the complaint filed against Twelve Crane during their "rave" last year, including the documents related to, including the final determination of, whether or not the sons owner was in possession of fertilizer or illegal drugs, as noted in the report by the police.

      5. All copies of documents, memorandums, not limited to the order by the Chief of Police instructing Det. Ryan Ruettger to attend the EHS meeting earlier this week.

      Delete
  3. Southbridge above the law? Who knew? Where are the ACLU Voices of Justice now? I guess thre is not enough publicity for any response on this particular case. I kind of like the immplied threat in the response from the police chief too. Class acts going on in this town, lie, hide, and deny. Kind of like the political B and E that got ignored during the Alicea/Durant wars. Got to love this town..............

    ReplyDelete
  4. Bob,

    The ACLU of Massachusetts is backing two bills in the legislature, H.1575/S.1736 and H.1576/S.1737. You may or may not know this, but our public records law here in Massachusetts has not been substantially updated since 1973, and currently has no enforcement mechanism for public officials and agencies that do not lawfully comply with public records requests. Please consider contacting your legislators with their email form in support of these two bills:

    https://secure.aclu.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=4207

    The Worcester City Council passed a resolution a few weeks ago in support of updating the state public records law. I'd love for the Southbridge Town Council to pass a similar resolution. :)

    ReplyDelete

All comments subject to moderation. All commenters must use their own name or a screen name. No comments labelled as "Anonymous" will be published. To use your name or a screen name select "Name/URL" from the drop down menu. Insert you name in the "Name" space and leave the "URL" space blank.