The Utica Democratic Committee has endorsed Common Councilman Frank Meola as candidate for mayor, committee Chairman Mitchell Ford said Wednesday night.
Meola, who represents the fourth ward and was elected to the council in 2003, is a hardworking, energetic candidate who has improved Utica during his time on the Common Council, Ford said.
"I'm hoping he'll bring more economic growth to the city," Ford said. "The city has been stagnant a long time."
The Democratic Party chose to endorse Meola during a closed meeting at the Sons of Italy lodge on Bleecker Street Wednesday night.
If elected Mr. Meola would have the dubious distinction of being the first convicted felon to attain the office of Mayor in New York state this decade. On the bright side, he already has a relationship with Governor Spitzer. You may remember that it was then Attorney General Spitzer that brought the hammer down on Mr. Meola for his involvement in an organized crime ring.
"The individuals involved in this ring set out to plunder upstate stores on a daily basis," said Spitzer. "The extent of this crime and the frequency with which it occurred is shocking. Thanks to a cooperative effort by my office, the State Police and local retailers, this ring of criminals, which plagued area businesses for so long and at such enormous cost, is now out of business -- permanently."
"This type of organized crime is among the many challenges facing legitimate New York business enterprises today," Superintendent McMahon said. "Unfortunately, large scale thefts such as these add to the overhead expenses that must be borne by retailers. Ultimately, these costs are passed along to the consumer. I am pleased that the teamwork between the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force and the New York State Police has put this organization out of business.’
That incident brought Mr. Meola to the attention of the State Insurance Department, which fined him for his "untrustworthiness".
Frankly, with a track record like that I can't imagine a more perfect candidate for Mayor of Utica. It's been far too long since someone associated with organized crime was at the helm of the city.