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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

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Town of Lockport businessman and government critic David Mongielo was sentenced to 10 days in jail for violating a town sign ordinance.

Technically, Mongielo's sentence is for violation of the conditional discharge he received in 2010 for his first conviction on the town’s sign ordinance, which bans electronic signs that change message or format more than once every 10 minutes.

The electronic sign in front of Mongielo’s business on Robinson Road was reportedly used to show a video advertising a fundraiser. The one-year conditional discharge would have expired the following month.

Mongielo had argued that his sign didn't change message or format. He additionally argued that the law itself wasn't legal.

Mongielo's supporters claim that the charge is rooted in politics. Mongielo ran unsuccessfully against Town of Lockport Supervisor Marc Smith in 2009 and 2013.

Frank T. Housh, Mongielo's attorney, argued that Mongielo should have a jury trial, in part due to the fact that Lockport Town Justice Leonard G. Tilney Jr. is a Republican, as was the complainant, Lockport Republican Committee Chairman Donald J. Jablonski.

Mongielo is set to begin serving his 10-day sentence Wednesday afternoon.

Next month, Mongielo will be in Lockport City Court over a traffic violation he was charged with on June 27. Mongielo turned down a plea deal earlier this month that would have had him plead guilty to obstruction of governmental administration, a class B misdemeanor. His original charges included resisting arrest and using a cellphone while driving.

Mongielo says he was using his cellphone to record the officer's interview with him. He contends that he was roughed up in that traffic stop and had attempted to file a police brutality suit, but it was dismissed by State Supreme Court Justice Catherine Nugent Panepinto on Nov. 14 because the officers weren’t properly served with the papers.



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