Ice cream truck driver on stand
Man disputes police reports on incidents with Mr. Ding-a-Ling
JOHNSTOWN The attorney for Sno Kone Joe proprietor Amanda Scott chipped away Monday at police reports used to deny Scott a vendor’s license during a fourth day of a court hearing on whether she will get to operate her ice cream truck in the city.
Testimony is being heard before state Supreme Court Justice Joseph Sise in the lawsuit Scott filed days after she and Joshua Malatino were charged by police with stalking and harassment.
Scott’s attorney, William Lorman, brought Malatino to the stand Monday and worked to portray the 34-year-old Gloversville resident as a disabled and unemployed man who has been volunteering by driving the ice cream truck and selling ice cream for the past eight years.
Malatino testified that he’s undergone two failed spinal fusion operations, visits a doctor monthly and continues to suffer pain. He said he’s slated for another operation in the near future and the recovery time is expected to be 18 months.
The attorney representing Gloversville, Michael Albanese, objected to the testimony, arguing Malatino’s physical condition has nothing to do with Scott getting a vendor’s license. Sise overruled the objection, allowing the questioning to continue.
Lorman contended the city is supporting its license denial by alleging Scott and Malatino are a package deal. “I believe it’s guilt by association here,” Lorman said to Sise following the objection.
The city in court documents cited 10 separate instances in which either Scott or Malatino attracted police attention, but most of the reports involve Malatino, not Scott.
“I believe she should be judged independently,” said Lorman, who is representing both.
Malatino testified that several accusations in the police reports were false. For starters, he said, he never offered free ice cream to siphon customers away from a rival ice cream truck.
He said he never told Mr. Ding-A-Ling driver Phillip Hollister that “You don’t have a chance. This is my town,” when passing him in the Sno Kone Joe truck.
“We just crossed each other’s path,” Malatino said.
He said an encounter with Hollister on April 28 this year didn’t happen as it was reported. Malatino said it was Hollister who was using his music to the detriment of Sno Kone Joe — alleging Hollister started playing the same tune on his ice cream truck when he saw Malatino in the Sno Kone Joe truck.
In one report the city is using to portray Malatino as a bad apple, Police Chief Donald Van Deusen said he asked Malatino to move the ice cream truck that was idling on the road near the Boulevard School building.
That’s practically next door to Malatino’s home and, according to Malatino, the same spot the Sno Kone Joe truck has sold ice cream for the past 44 years.
Van Deusen’s work to clear that spot began after a city resident had complained at a Common Council meeting, saying he felt it wasn’t an appropriate spot for an ice cream truck.
Malatino refused to move his truck and instead argued with the chief, contending he wasn’t “parked” in front of the “no parking” sign but rather “standing” because the truck was idling.
Malatino was issued a ticket that day, but it was later thrown out because the sign itself wasn’t backed by city regulations.
Albanese used that instance and others in an effort to portray Malatino as a person prone to confrontations.
Albanese is expected to begin presenting his case Thursday.