Ticket War: Legislator Helps Drivers, Angers Putnam Sheriff

The move sets off a firestorm

By Ida Siegal
|  Tuesday, Jan 12, 2010  |  Updated 4:57 PM EDT
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Traffic Ticket Trap?

WNBC

Drivers in Putnam Valley have been getting more than traffic tickets at a local check point. They've been getting a county legislator's business card. Legislator Anthony Fusco says the traffic stop at Bryant Pond Road and Wood Street is so unfair, he thinks drivers should know they have a right to fight the ticket.

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Traffic Ticket Trap?

It's one traffic stop that set off a firestorm in Putnam County.
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Drivers in Putnam Valley have been getting more than traffic tickets at a local check point. 

They've been getting a county politician's business card.

Legislator Anthony Fusco says the traffic stop at Bryant Pond Road and Wood Street is so unfair, he thinks drivers should know they have a right to fight the ticket.

"These tickets are given out for nuisance value," Said Fusco.

Fusco says the officers are trying to catch people going through a stop sign. They pulled him over more than a year ago and issued a 100 dollar ticket.

But Fusco says the officers are parked so far down the block, trees obstruct their view of the stop sign.

But Fusco's bold move handing out business cards, has angered the Putnam County Sheriff.  Sheriff Donald Smith says Fusco is jeopardizing the safety of his officers.

"This behavior is unacceptable, it's potentially dangerous, it's unethical and it's potentially unlawful," said the sheriff.

The sheriff sent Fusco a scathing letter.

Fusco says he wasn't endangering officers.  He believes the sheriff has a bone to pick with him for investigating overtime expenditures.  

"Absolutely not.  Investigation?  I don't know what he's talking about,"  said Smith.

Fusco hasn't handed out any more business cards since receiving the letter.  But he insists drivers aren't getting a fair shake

"I will look look for a safer way to do it since the sheriff has characterized it."
 

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