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Who is George Latimer? Part III

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Who is George Latimer? Part III

November 05, 2017 - 17:08
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I sent a heads-up email to FiOS1News because the Executive Producer had recently been asking for story ideas from New Rochelle.

From: Robert Cox <[email protected]>

Date: Oct 15, 2017, 12:36 PM -0400

To: Helen Jonsen

Subject: RE: SHOT FIRED IN NEW RO TODAY

Helen

I have a story coming tonight for Monday that will interest you. Giving subject until 630 pm to reply to my questions then will publish a short while later. It should get statewide pickup but definitely in your coverage area. Cannot say more just yet.

Meanwhile, may obtain a photo or even video pertaining to shooting referenced here. Two shots fired not one. I ought to know tomorrow whether I am getting any images.

Bob Cox

On Sunday I reached out to various public officials to ask if they were aware of George Latimer being in a serious car crash: Assemblywoman Amy Paulin and County Legislator Sheila Marcotte (the crash occurred in their districts), New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson and Council Member Jared Rice who actively involved in the Latimer campaign and County Legislator Ken Jenkins who was Latimer’s primary opponent at the time. All but Jenkins said they were unaware of the car crash.

Jenkins response was suspect because he was with Latimer campaigning in Mount Vernon at the time I texted him.

I wrote “Bob Cox here, Talk of the Sound. I hate to bother you on a Sunday but I am preparing a story for Monday and wanted to ask you about an incident involving George Latimer that occurred during your primary campaign. On July 21, 2017 at 5 pm, police records indicate George ran a red light at speed and struck another vehicle in the intersection, both George and the other driver were injured. George went off the road, through a fence, into a tree. Were you aware at all of the incident?

Jenkins said “Good afternoon Bob.  Just finished speaking at church - George told me personally about an accident. There was no speeding, and no running of Red Lights. No dishonesty. The police report is public record and shows no blame.”

Jenkins is “answering” questions I did not ask. 

Given the confident specificity of his comprehensive reply, I asked him if he had seen the police report.

He had not.

“George told me about an accident back in July.  I didn’t ask about details.  Unfortunately accidents happen and even if a person refuses medical treatment at the time, subsequently they may have an injury that manifests itself later.  He wasn’t driving an County car - drunk and got into an accident.  They would be Hugh Fox, who Astorino shifted from the CE’s office to a position at the airport.”

Jenkins added a link to a Journal News story about the arrest of Hugh Fox. I told him I recalled the story but as it was outside my coverage area and Fox is not from New Rochelle it is not the sort of story I would report. I continued, “As far as George, the details are that he admitted fault - said he could not see traffic light because he was temporarily blinded by sun then entered intersection (which would mean he should NOT have proceeded)

Jenkins said “Bob, it’s a fair point regarding the local area. This seems to be an accident.  This sounds so much like the Venus Williams scenario.  At the end I suspect that it’s just going to work through the insurance companies.”

I replied, “From my perspective it is not a campaign matter. I report news and information, mostly about New Rochelle, to my readers. It is certainly news that a sitting NYS Senator and candidate for County Exec is involved in a serious car crash.”

My sense was he was being fed his reply by Latimer who was with him at the time.

Latimer responded on Sunday afternoon with new information - that he did not know the name of the lawyer he had referenced on Saturday and that the lawyer was not available over the weekend.

From: George Latimer

Date: Sun, Oct 15, 2017 at 4:37 PM

Subject: Re: Inquiry on your 7/21 traffic collision in New Rochelle

To: Robert Cox <[email protected]>

Bob 

I won't even have the lawyer's name whom I am to speak with until tomorrow. I don't think you've given me anywhere near enough time but run whatever you want. Just be sure you state that Latimer was willing to answer questions but since the matter is subject to litigation he needed to check first with legal representatives from the insurance company which were not  available over the weekend.

G

I was not prepared to be told how to write my article nor to make it appear he had not been given a reasonable amount of time when I was willing to give him that. As he was now effectively requesting until Monday, I offered to hold the story until Monday evening. Again, I have no obligation to wait one minute for any response and he had Saturday and Sunday and now was being given until Monday. That seemed more than fair to me.

From: Robert Cox <[email protected]>

Date: Oct 15, 2017, at 10:03 PM

 Subject: Re: Inquiry on your 7/21 traffic collision in New Rochelle

To: George Latimer

George

Two days seems like enough time to me but if you want me to wait I will.

I am heading down to the Yankee game at 5 pm.  So, I can hold the story until 3 pm if that will make a difference.

Is 3pm OK?

Latimer’s response became surprisingly (to me) hostile and accusatory.

From: George Latimer

Date: Oct 15, 2017, 10:22 PM

Subject: Re: Inquiry on your 7/21 traffic collision in New Rochelle

To: Robert Cox <[email protected]>

Bob

You contacted me yesterday, Saturday, in the afternoon. I have no way to reach the insurance people until Monday. You may think a turn around by Sunday is sufficient but it's not, I know you'd love to chop me up if you can, even so, if a lawyer who may be litigating the case says I can speak with you, I will. But I'm not going to advantage someone who may want to sue just to satisfy your sense of a deadline. Do what you want,

I wasn't drinking, I wasn't speeding, I didn't get a ticket. She hit me. I didn't seek emergency care. The police report says all these things, which you have,The insurance company is handling details, You and your readers would love a story that can hurt me and help Rob, do whatever you want.

Sent from my iPhone

I do think most of Saturday and most of Sunday is sufficient to answer the questions I had submitted since the answers were ones Latimer would be expected to know off the top of his head. It was not until late Sunday afternoon that he indicated anything about needing until Monday to communicate with a lawyer.

His line, “I wasn't drinking, I wasn't speeding, I didn't get a ticket. She hit me. I didn't seek emergency care,” sounded remarkably similar to Jenkins reply even “answering” about subjects I did not raise about drinking or emergency care.

The “I need to ask a lawyer for permission” was a dubious response from the outset considering there are no lawyers I know who would advise a client to talk to the media in a pending matter. Despite that, I was still offering to wait as long as he said he needed.

Latimer’s response belongs in the “methinks George protest too much” file.

“I know you'd love to chop me up if you can”?

“You and your readers would love a story that can hurt me and help Rob”?

My “sense of a deadline”?

And “do whatever you want”?

Despite this rant and his claims he can say nothing about the collision without speaking to a lawyer he proceeded to do so anyway.

Latimer says, “I wasn't drinking, I wasn't speeding, I didn't get a ticket. She hit me. I didn't seek emergency care. The police report says all these things, which you have.”

Set aside for a moment that I did not ask if he was drinking or about “emergency” care or who hit whom and that he is not addressing all but one of my questions (i.e. were you speeding?)

I do have the police report and it does not say Latimer was “not speeding”, or “not drinking” or whether he “got a ticket” or the other driver hit him. The report does not say that Latimer did not get emergency care.

What the report says is Latimer told police he was injured but that he did not request medical attention at the scene. What he did after he left the scene is not in the report, hence some of my original questions.

The report has a diagram that indicates damage to the front left panel of the vehicle driven by Latimer. The report does not show the police attributing fault but shows the other driving stating she went through a green light and Latimer stating he could not see the color of the light before he entered the intersection.

The report does not say he was not speeding but the police would not issue a ticket for any moving violation in such a case unless they had witnessed or otherwise documented the violation. No police were on scene when the collision occurred so no tickets were issued.

From: Robert Cox <[email protected]>

Date: Oct 15, 2017, at 11;25 PM

Subject: Re: Inquiry on your 7/21 traffic collision in New Rochelle

To: George Latimer 

George

I think I just sent an email (to) say I would wait until tomorrow at 3 pm Monday so I have no idea why you are responding this way.

I cannot tell from your most recent reply whether you feel that 3 pm Monday will give you enough time to speak to an attorney but I am going to the Yankee game Monday night and I would need time to complete and publish an article which is why I proposed 3 pm.

Is 3 pm ok or not?

Bob Cox

I continued to defer to Latimer as to what he feels is a reasonable deadline. He replied late Sunday.

From: George Latimer

Date: Oct 16, 2017 at 10:35 AM

Subject: Re: Inquiry on your 7/21 traffic collision in New Rochelle

To: Robert Cox <[email protected]>

Because I know you're trying to set me up for an Astorino hit piece later this week that wlll cite your article as the basis of another attack mailing. You've spoken to others involved in the accident trying to see if I'd lied or some got preferential treatment. So before I have an open conversation wit(h) you when you do your best to sink me, I think I have the right to do a little due diligence too.

Enjoy the game.  

Sent from my iPhone

Clearly, Latimer was becoming increasingly unhinged, escalating his defensive, combative tone. Why this was such a big deal to him was unclear to me at the time but became clear after the story ran.

“I know you're trying to set me up for an Astorino hit piece later this week that wlll cite your article as the basis of another attack mailing”.

Besides this being untrue, I have no idea how Latimer would know what the Astorino campaign would do or not do in response to my article. Even if they sent out a mailer based on my article how does that make my article more or less accurate? Astorino did not come to New Rochelle, run a red light, get into a car collision, drive into an oncoming traffic lane, leave the road, crash through a fence and into a tree. If he had I would have asked him the same questions.

“You've spoken to others involved in the accident trying to see if I'd lied or some got preferential treatment.”

This statement is delusional. There was one other person “involved in the accident”, the other driver.  I did attempt to contact the other driver to no avail. So, I did not speak to “others involved” as there no “others” just “other” and I did not speak to the “other”.

I did not need to speak to anyone to know Latimer lied to police. That information is in the report. There is no indication Latimer received “special treatment” at the scene. I never stated that or published a statement to that effect. I never thought that nor do I think that and never asked anyone about that.

“when you do your best to sink me”?

How is my reporting on a car crash going to “sink” George Latimer? He does not say.

“before I have an open conversation wit(h) you I think I have the right to do a little due diligence too.”

This is another Latimer statement which seemed to me to border on the paranoid-delusional side. What “due diligence” would he need to do to answer questions about his car crash? What due diligence was he saying he was undertaking? What “right” does he imagine applies here? And who is denying him this “right” to “due diligence”? And how is replying to a set of emailed questions an “open conversation”. He never says.

From: Robert Cox <[email protected]>

Date: Oct 16, 2017 at 11:46 AM

Subject: Re: Inquiry on your 7/21 traffic collision in New Rochelle

To: George Latimer 

George

I am not sure what it means that YOU are doing due diligence when I am reporting out a story but that is not the reason you have given for not answering my questions -- you have said you needed to talk to a lawyer to get the OK and then you said you needed until Monday. And I have offered to hold the story until 3 pm Monday to allow you to do that.

So, is it now NOT the case that you need to talk to a lawyer to get the OK to answer my questions? If it is not the case, then I am not sure why you would have offered that (as) a reason for not answering my questions. More to the point, if it is not the case that you need to talk to a lawyer and you are not answering my questions then I will report that. If you want to answer my questions and your lawyer says no I will report that. If you want to answer my questions and your lawyer says yes then I would want your answers by 3 pm today.

As far as quotes from Talk of the Sound appearing in campaign material, that happens all the time and I have no control over it. Campaigns quote the Journal News and News12 and the major NY papers and so on. I write stories. If a campaign wants to quote from my stories that is up to them. I have sought material from YOUR campaign and you have chosen not to provide it. As I always do, I would publish material you send especially if (it) is focused on New Rochelle.

As for MY due diligence,I have asked relevant people whether they were aware of this traffic incident -- I consider people relevant if that area of New Rochelle is in their district, if they are New Rochelle officials, and your opponent in the primary 

I intend to report that this traffic incident was not previously disclosed. To do that, I need to ask about that.

I reached out to Ken Jenkins, Amy Paulin, Sheila Marcotte, Noam Bramson, Jared Rice. I asked them if they were aware of the incident. 

I will report that you gave an implausible statement to police (sun glare defense) which in this case is essentially an admission of fault -- you said you were temporarily blinded by the sun and THEN entered the intersection. If you cannot see the light you have to assume it is red and stop. You did not do that. Further, is it not possible that the sun blinded you when you looked at the traffic light so this statement was also false.

It does not take a genius to figure out where you were going at 5 pm on a Friday when you had an event in Armonk that evening but that is not part of my article.

In any case, as you no longer seem to say you need to talk to talk your lawyer (and you have had the morning to do so) I will proceed on the basis that what you said over the weekend no longer applies.

Thanks

Robert Cox

Publisher and Managing Editor

Talk of the Sound

 

At this point, it was becoming clear that Latimer was stonewalling, I did something unusual for me. I laid out for him what the story would say and not say. It would say that he admitted fault, that his excuse was bogus, that he ran a red light and lied about it to police.

Sharp-eyed readers will see that I conveyed to Latimer that I would not mention in the story that the most likely explanation for Latimer, who lives in Rye and had a fundraiser in Armonk that evening, to be rushing through New Rochelle in the opposite direction is that he was making a beeline to Judge Susan Kettner’s house.

Latimer’s longtime relationship with Kettner is widely known but accepted by most, including me, as a personal matter.

A day late and a dollar short Latimer copies me on an email to a lawyer at Allstate. But still no answer to my proposed 3 p.m. deadline. Last I heard he was not answering me regardless of the lawyer.

From: George Latimer

Date: Mon, Oct 16, 2017 at 11:45 AM

Subject: Accident Question

To: “[email protected]" <[email protected]>

Cc: REDACTED <[email protected]>

Mr. REDACTED

REDACTED Insurance Agency

Dear Mr. REDACTED,

I was a driver in an accident in New Rochelle on July 21 in a car insured by Allstate, owned by Andrew Genna. I am a public official seeking office this year and I have been contacted by an individual who is in the press, seeking my answers to the attached questions.

Given the status of the claim, am I at liberty to answer these questions, as would be my preference or are there any limitations based on whatever likelihood may exist of litigation? Please advise at your earliest opportunity.

Regards,

George Latimer

On Oct 14, 2017, at 1:38 PM, Robert Cox <[email protected]> wrote:

George

I have a few questions about traffic collision you were involved in on July 21, 2017 in New Rochelle.

Are you OK? Did you suffer any lasting injuries? Are you aware of the condition of the other driver? The people with the damaged fence?

What happened to the vehicles? Did airbags deploy on the one you were driving? The other vehicle?

Police records indicate you ran a red light, that you indicated the sun was in your eyes so you could not see the light turned red. Is that right? Is that a good excuse? If you cannot see whether the light is red or not should you not have operated the vehicle on the premise the light was red?

How fast were you traveling as you approached then entered the intersection? Were you speeding?

Where were you coming from? Where were you going to? Were you on state or campaign business? Did you file any sort of injury or lost work time claim as a NYS employee/elected official or as a candidate?

Police records indicate that you were not driving your own vehicle? Why is that? Who is Andrew Genna? Internet search shows he is a lawyer? But he also works for you on Community Outreach? Is that right? What is his connection to you? Why were you driving a vehicle registered to him, not your own?

Thanks

Robert Cox

Publisher and Managing Editor

Talk of the Sound

Having never gotten a response as to whether 3 p.m. Monday was acceptable to Latimer and his statement that he was not responding to my questions due to his various conspiracy theories and that he was selectively answering my questions and giving answers to questions I had not asked, I chose to observe the 3 p.m. deadline.

I even waited an extra 45 minutes to publish the story at which point I advised Latimer the story was online and offered to update the story if his lawyer agreed to allow him to respond further.

From: Robert Cox <[email protected]>

Date: Oct 16, 2017 at 3:49 PM

Subject: Re: Inquiry on your 7/21 traffic collision in New Rochelle

To: George Latimer

The story is up.

If you hear back from your lawyer I can update the story

http://www.newrochelletalk.com/content/new-york-state-senator-george-lat...

Robert Cox

Publisher and Managing Editor

Talk of the Sound

The article ran as I described it to Latimer earlier that day.

New York State Senator George Latimer in Serious Undisclosed Car Crash Over the Summer, 2 Injured

As promised, I sent a heads up email to Helen Jonsen.

From: Robert Cox [email protected]

Sent: Monday, October 16, 2017 3:48 PM

To: Helen Jonsen 

Subject: EXCLUSIVE, MUST CREDIT New York State Senator George Latimer in Serious Undisclosed Car Crash Over the Summer, 2 Injured

If you hurry, police tape still up from July.

http://www.newrochelletalk.com/content/new-york-state-senator-george-lat...

I left for the Yankee game. Little did I know all hell was about to break loose.

Who is George Latimer? Part IV

Who is George Latimer? Table of Contents