JOHNSTOWN Sno Kone Joe ice cream trucks won’t be cruising the streets of Gloversville this summer, following a ruling Monday by state Supreme Court Justice Joseph M. Sise.
Six days of testimony over the past three weeks led to Sise’s ruling that city of Gloversville officials acted appropriately last month in denying Sno Kone Joe proprietor Amanda C. Scott, 21, and her boyfriend Joshua V. Malatino, 34, a vendor’s license to sell ice cream.
Gloversville Mayor Dayton King made the decision to deny Scott a vendor’s license after she and Malatino were charged with harassment and stalking based on an April 30 complaint from Philip Hollister, driver of a Mr. Ding-A-Ling ice cream truck.
Scott’s attorney, William Lorman, filed a lawsuit against the city, asking the courts to reverse the city’s denial, but Sise on Monday dismissed the complaint altogether.
Sise said testimony made it clear that the city’s decision to deny the permit was neither arbitrary nor capricious and said it appeared police officials demonstrated “patience and reserve” in their dealings with Scott and Malatino, who were each the subject of complaints or police action dating back to 2009.
Scott declined comment after the ruling. Malatino said he plans to fight to keep the business operating.
“Sno Kone Joe will never be out of business,” he vowed as he exited the courthouse.
Monday’s decision followed testimony by another vendor, Robert J. Insognia, who said he decided to stop selling ice cream in Gloversville after less than a month last year.
Insognia recounted allegations that Scott followed him as he drove his Mr. Pop Pop mobile truck last year and pulled up and parked behind Insognia’s truck as he was selling ice cream and shouted, “Their ice cream is poison. Come get some ice cream from us.”
During the hearing, Gloversville’s attorney Michael Albanese outlined 10 instances in which either Scott or Malatino required police involvement, and argued in his closing statement that city officials acted prudently.
Malatino called a convicted sex offender a pedophile in front of children in one instance, and in another instance he argued with city Police Chief Donald Vandeusen about the difference between parking and standing — refusing to move his Sno Kone Joe truck until threatened with arrest.
During another incident, Malatino was accused of threatening to kill another man and he also admitted to punching his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend at a pizza restaurant.
“That’s not conduct the city wants to allow,” Albanese said.
Lorman worked throughout the hearing to show that police were basing their permit rejection on information they already had in March, when they allowed Sno Kone Joe a 30-day license for April.
He also delved into allegations in a statement from Hollister that led police to charge Malatino and Scott with stalking and harassment, showing inconsistencies in Hollister’s statement.
Lorman contended police were looking for a reason to ban the pair from selling ice cream in the city, and alleged Hollister became an ideal candidate because he is Sno Kone Joe’s competitor.
Lorman also tried to distance Scott from Malatino, pointing out that most of the complaints on which police based their permit denial involved Malatino, not Scott, who is the proprietor of the Sno Kone Joe operation.
In the end, Sise called into question testimony of Scott and Malatino — calling “suspect” their story that Malatino has been serving as only a volunteer over the past eight years. He called Malatino a “major actor” in the Sno Kone business and cast doubt on the idea that Scott leads the business.
Scott doesn’t own either of the firm’s two trucks. Malatino and an uncle do.
Sise said the hearing outlined a record replete with examples of inappropriate and ill-advised behavior.
After Monday’s ruling, Lorman said his client is disappointed and said they planned to meet to discuss future options. It’s unclear what impact the lack of a permit will have on the Sno Kone Joe business, which still has licenses to sell ice cream in Johnstown and Amsterdam.
The criminal charges against Scott and Malatino are pending.