Mahoney Throws Man's Phone After Taking Her Picture

Joanie Mahoney

Syracuse, N.Y. – An incident from December referenced in a recent Notice of Claim filed against Onondaga County reached a fever pitch when Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney threw a man’s phone after taking her picture.

Several State and Local Law enforcement officials say that County Executive Mahoney was out to dinner at the Scotch ‘N Sirloin restaurant in DeWitt on Dec. 16 when a person at the restaurant took her picture with his cell phone. Mahoney then confronted the man and folloing an argument took the man’s cell phone and threw it. Numerous Freedom of Information Law requests made by NewsRadio 570 WSYR to Onondaga County and State Police for information about the incident have been routinely denied.

Sources with knowledge of the matter say the man who took the picture was Brian Renna. Renna was a part of Onondaga County Comptroller Bob Antonacci’s 2015 Election Campaign for State Comptroller. 

In a Notice of Claim filed in March, Comptroller Antonacci accuses the County Executive of “cavorting” over dinner and drinks with one of the claimants in a pending Federal Discrimination lawsuit against the county, broadly, and the Comptroller, specifically. Dino Dixie and two others accuse the Comptroller of discrimination in that suite. The Comptroller concludes in the Notice of Claim that the County Executive’s actions damaged the County’s ability to defend itself, and him, in that suite.

In an interview with NewsRadio 570 WSYR’s Bob Lonsberry last week District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick characterized the dinner as a meeting among friends of more than 20 years. Fitzpatrick went on to say that the Comptroller’s accusation is “crazy” and he is confident that the lawsuit was not a topic of conversation. 

Antonacci and Mahoney have been characterized by a litany of local politicians as bitter political foes and it has been long speculated by Republicans in Onondaga County that the Republican County Executive is behind the lawsuit against the Republican Comptroller. It is also speculated by others that the Comptroller targeted Dixie because of his relationship with the County Executive. The two other men suing the county in the lawsuit along with the Federal Judge presiding over the case not throwing out and dismissing the lawsuit could demonstrate that the wild speculation is untrue. 

In that same interview with Lonsberry, Fitzpatrick confirmed that State Police were involved in an investigation into the incident. Fitzpatrick told Lonsberry that he spoke with Troopers who were investigating the incident when they showed up to his home around 11:00 p.m. on Dec. 16. A Freedom of Information Law request to State Police filed in January requested an incident report from that evening. State Police upheld the denial of the FOIL request appeal in May stating that “to the extent such a record exists, it is not one that would be disclosed, as it would concern unsubstantiated allegations in which no criminal charges were filed.”

"If you re-listen, I think you will hear that it was Bob Lonsberry who initially referred to what you're asking about. It sounded to me like two men joking about something neither had firsthand knowledge of," says Onondaga County Spokesman Justin Sayles. "However, as the District Attorney said on the show, the actions by a small group of 'paranoid people' who have been disturbingly obsessed with stalking the County Executive for many years are in fact 'totally creepy.' The repeated harassment, attempts to intimidate and picture taking by these men, one of whom is a convicted sex offender, is unsettling, inappropriate and possibly illegal.The County Executive has no interest in debating the men who have made their careers out of lying about her and her administration. We have no further comment."

NewsRadio 570 WSYR is working to confirm the sex offender status of all the parties involved in the incident at the Scotch 'N Sirloin.

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