By Matt Youngerfrau and Dan Hust
MONTICELLO Frustrated with alleged drug dealing in his apartment building, Monticello landlord Roy Howard took a drastic step last week, posting a sign on his 50 Pleasant Street building that read, "Recreational Drugs Available: Three-Minute Parking."
Village of Monticello Manager Richard Sush asked Howard to remove the sign. Sush felt Howard made his point but that the sign made the village look bad. Howard, however, felt his point would be made when the drug dealers were gone.
After numerous requests to remove the sign went unheeded, Howard was served a summons to appear in court. He could face fines for violating the sign ordinance, and the court date is set for April 19.
However, on Tuesday, the sign was missing from the building. Howard claims a "prankster" removed the sign, but he was unsure whether or not he would re-post the sign. He added that he expects a vacancy in that building soon and might put the sign in the window instead of on the building.
Sush responded that the village has not withdrawn the court date yet. If the sign goes back up or is put in the window, Sush said the village would continue in its quest to take Howard to court.
Then, on Wednesday, Howard and one of his tenants, David James, were arrested and charged with harassment in the second degree, a violation.
According to the Monticello Police, both men said the other had verbally threatened him.
According to Howard, who lives in Bethel, James has refused to pay him rent, but he stopped by Wednesday to check on a different apartment where dogs were allegedly being kept without supervision.
While he was attempting to enter the apartment, James exited his and allegedly yelled at Howard, claiming he had stolen something from James. Howard, who was holding a crowbar allegedly to gain entry to the apartment, claimed that James menaced him with a 10-pound bar weight.
He called me everything under the sun and said hes going to end my life now, Howard stated.
Both men then apparently called the police, who arrived to find two angry men and, indeed, two dogs inside another apartment.
James could not be reached for comment.
Neither men, according to Howard and the police, were handcuffed or restrained, but both were taken into custody which in this case means they voluntarily went to the police station and gave reports of the incident to officers, said the Monti PD.
Both were given tickets to appear in village court on April 19 and were released.