An upstate newspaper is being charged with littering — for delivering the morning paper.
Warren County Sheriff’s Office served Post-Star publisher Robert Forcey with a criminal summonses on seven counts of “throwing refuse on highways and adjacent lands,” the paper reported Tuesday.
The refuse in question? Weekly editions of the paper that a delivery man had tossed onto former subscribers’ driveways.
Cops issued the summonses after hearing complaints from five former subscribers who said they asked to no longer received the paper.
The group, which includes the wife of a Queensbury, New York, city councilman, sent in more than a dozen complaints after local pol Rachel Seeber posted on Facebook that sheriffs would take littering reports seriously if people logged them.
Her husband is an investigator with the sheriff’s office, and Forcey said he believes his paper has been targeted.
“Newspapers have been distributed in a similar fashion around the country for decades, including around the Capital Region, as protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” the publisher of the 110-year-old paper said.
“This seems like we are being targeted. I wonder how many folks will be filing complaints against the ‘Yellow Page’ companies who just delivered to Queensbury?”
But Seeber has contested the claim, saying in a Wednesday Facebook post that she only put the paper on notice after constituents griped to her.
“It’s not politics, it’s just doing the right thing,” the up-for-reelection Seeber wrote on her campaign-related “Vote Seeber” Facebook page. “Several months ago I was contacted by people in our community about the Post Star’s “free” newspaper. I provided to them, the same information, that I would provide to you all, if asked a question- information, options…”
Warren County Sheriff Bud York said his office was just doing its job.
“We did this by the book,” he told the Post-Star. “We received complaints and we forwarded them to the judge and he made the decision.”
The charges come with a maximum $350 fine and 10 hours;’ community service for a first offense, according to state law.
Forcey plans to contest the charges.