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Monday, May 24, 2010

Police Look to Send World Series Ticket Case into Extra Innings (Again)

Posted By on Mon, May 24, 2010 at 3:42 PM

'Cause real cops never quit!
  • 'Cause real cops never quit!
Updated 6 p.m. Judge Philip Heagney this afternoon issued a stay in the case, meaning the files won't be turned over until a June 4 hearing at the earliest. Original post follows...

We know. You're sick of hearing about the so-called "World Series Ticket Scandal" involving the St. Louis police board of commissioners.

Frankly, we are, too, which is why we were hoping that today would be the last time in a long while that we'd have to write about the story.

As we reported last week, today was supposed to be the day that the police board followed a court judgment and made public its entire Internal Affairs investigation into its officers accused of taking World Series tickets from scalpers in 2006 and then passing them along to their friends and families.

But in a last-ditch move, a group of four officers on Friday afternoon petitioned Circuit Court Judge Philip Heagney that they be allowed to intervene in the case.

Those officers -- Phillip Menendez, Wendell Ishmon, Joseph Somogye and Thomas Kranz -- argue in affidavits that their employer did not adequately represent their interests in the case and that the testimony they provided Internal Affairs should remain private.

In a hearing this morning, Heagney said he'd rule on their motion June 4 -- effectively extending the deadline for the police board to turn over the files.

Tony Rothert, legal counsel for the ACLU, which is representing plaintiff John Chasnoff in his suit against the police board, says the motion filed today couldn't be accurately be described as an "eleventh-hour" maneuver.

"11:55 is more like it," says Rothert. "They've had three years to enter this case, and now they're trying to intervene after a judgment has been issued? Such a move is unprecedented in Sunshine cases in Missouri."

Attorney Neil Bruntrager, representing the four officers, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Although today's court hearing doesn't technically prevent the police board from releasing the investigation today, Chasnoff says that's unlikely to happen now.

A spokeswoman with the police department pretty much reiterates the same, telling Daily RFT that it's unclear whether the department will release the files by the old  5 p.m. deadline.

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