Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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April 3rd, 2015

Jenkins Gets Booted

When someone runs for political office they do so because they feel they can make a difference and deliver a better form of government.

Sadly – We have seen it time and time again with elected officials – Somewhere along the line the mandate from the electorate is forgotten and the person in a position of power allows it to get to his or her head.

Gordon Jenkins is the perfect example of an elected Official that abused his position of power time and time again.

In fact, Jenkins became so delusional that he really thought his actions were for the good of the people he was elected to serve.

I first met Gordon Jenkins when I hosted a weekend call-in talk show on WVOS. He would be a frequent caller discussing issues.

Jenkins was angry that he was denied the right to run for Monticello Trustee and accused then Board of Elections Commissioner and Democratic Party Chairman Tim Hill with preventing him from getting on the Democratic Line.

Jenkins switched political parties, became a Republican, and soon formed his own “G Man” line. He wanted the minority population of Monticello to have a voice in the Village Government which then had an all white board.

His ideas and ideals seemed noble. He seemed like a breath of fresh air bucking politics as usual.

Fresh out of the gate in his elected political career Jenkins was indeed a breath of fresh air. But, something dramatically changed. He was no longer the Gordon Jenkins we all knew as the maverick seeking political office.

Jenkins conduct and the way he handled himself in political office would make the Jerry Springer Show proud. He became an embarrassment and a disgrace for the people of Monticello and our County Seat.

Even more disturbing was the way he continually played the race card, and pretended that he was the voice for people of color. He used and abused his connections with Roy Innis and the Congress of Racial Equality.

Gordon Jenkins was no Martin Luther King!

In fact, his actions were just the opposite – They often displayed that of a racist and bigot.

There is no need for all of us to rehash Jenkins’ well documented abuse of power, criminal activity, and all the actions that made him act as if he was above the law.
At the end of the day, the people have had enough. They spoke out in the voting booth, and in the court of law.

No one should be happy or celebrate Gordon Jenkins’ removal as Mayor of the Village of Monticello. It is very sad and upsetting that it came down to this.

I can only hope that Jenkins receives the help and healing he so desperately needs.
Nonetheless, the legal actions were necessary, and we all owe a big thank you to Kirk and Gerald Orseck for an outstanding job in their legal arguments.

We must also be thankful to the people who were brave enough to bring the legal action.

Thank you to the Justices in the New York Supreme Court – Appellate Division – Third Judicial Department – for proving to us that at the end of the day – Justice is served.


Michael Greco was one of the people who brought the action to have Jenkins removed. He issued the following statement:

“As I am one the persons named in the complaint against the now ex-mayor I think it is time that I spoke up. I felt that it was time to have him removed because in my dealing with him it never seemed that he had the best for the WHOLE community in mind when he acted as Mayor or Manager. I have no personal feeling towards the man.”

“I have always said that I wanted just what was best for the community its youth, business owners and tax payers not just a portion of them but all of them. I will also say that anyone who knows me and my family knows that I am not driven by race in anyway. It is now time to move forward with our eyes wide open on the direction that the village, town, our schools and county will be heading in the most important 2 years in this community history.”


I asked Kirk Orseck to discuss the history of the Jenkins litigation exclusively for us. Here is what he had to say:

Like most Sullivan County residents, I had been following the checkered career of Gordon Jenkins for some time. However, unlike most others, I had initially supported his efforts. I was really pleased when Jenkins was elected: Sullivan County’s first black mayor! But that enthusiasm began to wane as the news reports started to roll in. Those stories of his conflicts with the board. Friction with the police. Furious constituents. It seemed to me that his personality devolved from brave and well-intentioned to hubris and spite within months.

The arrest video, of course, was finally too much. The whole nation watched our mayor, oblivious to any respect for law or decorum, insult and threaten the Village police. Friends from across the country who had seen the video called to inquire about the situation, or just to poke fun at things the mayor had said. It was humiliating. I read up on the law regarding the removal of public officers, and tried to drum up some support amongst other local attorneys. No one else wanted to touch the case; they thought that removals are only rarely granted, that the workload would be prohibitive, and that Jenkins’ attorney (the extremely able civil rights lawyer Michael Sussman) would make victory unlikely. Eventually, the brave petitioners and several local businessmen agreed to help. I began the work on assembling the petition in late November of 2013.

Many news sources mention an “eleven page petition” as the documentation purportedly filed to initiate this action. However, that eleven page petition was filed along with thirty pages of carefully crafted supporting depositions, over a dozen other supporting documents, and a Memorandum of Law detailing just how Jenkins’ action violated the Public Officer’s law. It took over two months to draft the arguments, assemble the documents, and get the affidavits in the form that the witnesses wanted. The entire petition was nearly one hundred pages long when it was submitted to the Appellate Division, which is the court of initial jurisdiction in these rare cases.

Orseck Continues:

Jenkins, through attorney Sussman, countered the petition by submitting a motion to dismiss. I would guess that about 95% of removal actions are disposed of during this phase of removal litigation. However, having read most of those dismissed cases, I had known that the way to defeat this inevitable motion was to craft the petition in a manner that spelled out clear and specific instances of moral turpitude and abuse of authority, and then to back those claims with witness affidavits and documentary proof. Despite having done exactly that, my responses to the motion required additional bolstering of legal arguments and re-categorization of the salient facts. The back-and-forth between parties took some additional months. Eventually, in late June of 2014, the Appellate Division decided that the petition would not be dismissed, and that if the allegations stated within the petition could be proven at a hearing, that Jenkins should be removed from office. A hearing officer (a “referee”) was appointed, and a hearing was set down for September of 2014.

The hearing involved about 12 hours of total testimony. Trustee Carmen Rue testified first. She explained how Jenkins had threatened to eliminate police funding if he didn’t get special treatment in his criminal cases. She told the court how Jenkins had threatened her personally. She explained how the “Mount Jenkins” scandal – regarding the old Monticello Court House asbestos debris – caused the village to suffer lawsuits and fines. Officer Reigler and Lieutenant Johnstone testified next. They made references to the arrest video, and they pointed out specific instances where Jenkins had threatened the careers of police officers. Finally, Village employees testified as to how Jenkins had ordered them to withhold information from Jenkins’ political adversaries.

Jenkins himself never testified. I think this was probably a smart tactical decision on Sussman’s part. In most criminal trials, the defendant does not testify because they would be exposed to the sort of cross-examination questioning that would ruin the defendant’s case. It was a similar situation in this removal action – Jenkins would have been hard pressed to explain some of the things he had been recorded saying. Nonetheless, Sussman bombarded petitioners’ witnesses with cross examination questions that appeared in some instances to be designed to create a discrimination defense.

The parties each made lengthy post-hearing submissions to summarize the proceedings in the light most favorable to their clients. The referee handing down his decision about a month later. He found that every charge that the petitioners’ had levied against Jenkins was credible, and that those charges rose to the level of moral turpitude or abuse of authority. He recommended that the Appellate Division remove Jenkins from office.

So, finally we had to submit a motion to the Appellate Division, asking that they confirm the referee’s findings and adjudicate the removal. Oral argument was scheduled in Albany in February 2015. Jenkins brought about a dozen supporters along with him, and had the proceedings televised. Oral arguments lasted about 10 minutes per party. Sussman argued that the Monticello police had treated Jenkins unfairly, and the small crowd of protestors made inferences that the entire proceeding was racially motivated.

Today, on April 2, 2015 the Appellate Division confirmed the referee’s report, and removed Jenkins from office.

What happens now is left to the Village Board and the people of Monticello, and I feel pretty good about that. You’ve got a Board that is really motivated to improve the Village, a manager that is highly capable, and a citizenry that is becoming more postive about their Village every day. Its been a long and difficult process. Ive endured a lot of long hours and a lot of criticism. But to have contributed to the new pride and optimism that’s surging through Monticello recently?

Worth it. All well worth it.

I’m look forward to seeing some amazing things arising out of the new Monticello.

Orseck Concluded.


Bill Liblick has made a name for himself on National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the “MOUTH THAT ROARS” Column in THE SULLIVAN COUNTY POST.

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