|ROBERT COX with a KITTY CAT|
The Troy City Council is asking for an addition police officer at their monthly meetings after a regular, and vocal, critic threatened to get a gun and shoot members in retaliation for a family member being denied the purchase of city owned property.
And police are taking the threats made by Robert Cox seriously, according to an email sent to the Council by Chief John Tedesco. (Emails to and from members of the Council can be seen below.)
It appears Cox was unhappy with the Council for voting down an ordinance that would have sold two city owned properties – 30 and 36 Dowu St. – to his nephew Jack Cox Jr.
I’ll let the emails speak for themselves but I will sum them up as best I can: After the meeting, Robert Cox, unhappy with the vote said, “among other things” that he was going to get a gun and shoot people; off duty Police Officer Bob Fitzgerald overheard him and told Councilman Dean Bodnar about it; Bodnar in turn told the rest of the Council and Tedesco. Councilman Jim Gordon, since Cox singled him out from the podium at the meeting, said in one email he is getting an order of protection.
You can get a more comprehensive picture if you read the emails, and I provided info that isn’t included like who made the threats and the officer who overheard them. As to the latter, it’s kind of ironic in that it’s similar to one of the reasons given by then Mayor Harry Tutunjian to place Fitzgerald (pictured right) on paid administrative leave a few years ago.
Before you move on, though, a little bit of history. This is not the first time the Council has been threatened in such a way. Once, probably 16 years ago, Fran Pomiber, an original member of the Trojans for Troy, threatened to shoot the entire Council with a machine gun. On her way up the stairs, with a police officer graciously escorting her, she turned and yelled: “I don’t want to see this in Talespin, Franco.” Of course, I put it in Talespin and that was the last anyone ever heard of it.
Now, thanks to tragedies like Columbine, Sandy Hook and the SAFE Act, such threats throw everyone into a panic.
Anyway, I’ve always like Jack Cox Sr., I don’t know Jack Cox Jr. (pictured left) that well but he ran for mayor a few years ago and for that I give him credit, but Robert Cox has a tendency to just fly off the hook once in a while. I know that first hand because I’ve been on the receiving end of his tirades more than once. Is he dangerous? There are those who think so, so I guess it’s better to be safe than sorry.
From: "John.Tedesco" <John.Tedesco@troyny.gov>
Date: February 7, 2014 at 3:47:09 PM EST
To: "Rodney Wiltshire" <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: "Tony.Magnetto" <Tony.Magnetto@troyny.gov>, "Ian.Silverman" <Ian.Silverman@troyny.gov>, "Richard.McAvoy" <Richard.McAvoy@troyny.gov>, "George.Vanbramer" <George.Vanbramer@troyny.gov>, "Rick.Sprague" <Rick.Sprague@troyny.gov>, "Chris.Kehn" <Chris.Kehn@troyny.gov>
Subject: RE: Urgent Security Matter
After speaking with Councilman Bodnar, I advised Captain Sprague of this
issue. In turn, he spoke with Officer Fitzgerald and directed that he
complete a report on the matter. I have since received calls from two
additional Council members expressing their concerns for personal
This matter is now assigned for investigation. A detective will be
contacting each of you early next week. Also being questioned is the
performance of the officer assigned as the Sergeant at Arms.
Please be assured that the Council's ability to vote free from threats
is of the utmost importance, and we view this issue as a priority.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any additional concerns.
Chief John F. Tedesco
Troy Police Department
55 State Street
Troy, N.Y. 12180
Office: (518) 270-4525
Fax: (518) 270-4452
From: Rodney Wiltshire [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, February 07, 2014 3:00 PM
Cc: Tony.Magnetto; John.Tedesco; Ian.Silverman
Subject: Re: Urgent Security Matter
I will of course treat this seriously as well. I think it might be a
good idea to have an officer in the Front as well as the back in
Who reported this threat, and what has been done at this point?
If it is substantiated and credible, I would consider implementing a
restrictive policy on allowing people who have made threats against us
to appear before us at these meetings.
On 2/7/2014 1:32 PM, James Gordon wrote:
I have been in contact with TPD this morning and will be
following up this afternoon.
The same information was relayed to me as well and in light of
being singled out by the Coxs' during their speeches I will be pursuing
an order of protection.
This behavior will not and should not be tolerated.
Councilman, Dist. 1
Sent from my iPhone 5
On Feb 7, 2014, at 1:18 PM, Dean <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
I'm writing to make sure you're aware of a security
threat against the city council. The threat was relayed to me, after the
final meeting of the night, by an off-duty Troy police officer as we
waited for an elevator. According to the police officer, a member of the
Cox family said that, among other things, he was going to get a gun and
start shooting people in the wake of Jack Cox, Jr.'s unsuccessful
attempt to obtain two city-owned parcels of property on Douw Street.
I called Chief Tedesco this morning and asked him to
look into this matter, which he agreed to do.
The issue here is not whether the threat was made out of
anger, frustration, or the mental instability of the person uttering it.
The issue is the safety of our colleagues, and the public, who are
simply participating in the democratic process of government. As
president of the council, I'm calling upon you to take this matter most
seriously and take additional steps to increase security at our public
meetings. Specifically, I'm asking that two police officers, at a
minimum, be present for every public meeting, and that one of the
officers be stationed at the front of the room (perhaps near the council
secretary's door), facing the crowd to enable him/her to respond quickly
in the event of a threat.
Please inform me, and the rest of the council, how you
plan to proceed.
Rodney G. Wiltshire Jr.
President of the Troy City Council
Phone (518) 279-7134
Fax (518) 270-4639
433 River Street
Troy, New York 12180
Please Think GREEN Before Printing this Email!