Mark PUente – The rebuttal- document Montelon/ City of Lorain

February 1, 2012 at 11:26 pm 32 comments

As noted in previous posts I am not making any judgements as to who is in the right or wrong in this litigation. My concern is “how far does a journalist seemingly go to get information for a story which could benefit his chosen “career”

Rivera said in an interview Tuesday that he received about 1,000 of the letters, which he considered bizarre, ominous and threatening, and deserving of a criminal investigation. But he didn’t begin to suspect Montelon until Resendez told him about the meeting with Puente, he said.

“Nobody ever came up with that name,” Rivera said. “We never thought about Joe Montelon until Puente provided the initial direction.”
Note Emphasis mine and from the same Plain Dealer article

Bill Reader, a professor at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, said the majority of readers are not bothered by a reporter who cooperates with police on an investigation. If what Resendez said in the deposition is true, Reader said he understands how Puente might have been lured into crossing an ethical line by a trained interrogator.

“Reporters need to remain independent of the government, but when you work the police beat you have to be chummy with them,” Reader said. “You’re going to talk about stuff off the record. From a journalism ethics standpoint it’s questionable, but not cut-and-dried.”



January 31st finds the ongoing litigation – ongoing – as stated in the Morning Journal and once again in the thick of it is Mark Puente , whom at the time, was employed by the Plain Dealer

“Former Lorain police officer Joseph Montelon’s attorney filed a motion to a federal court suggesting Lorain police officers searching Montelon’s house nearly four years ago “represents a disturbing abuse of police power” and the case needs to be submitted to a jury


Looking through PDF file sent to me – it looks to the lay person that the search warrant was based upon Mark Puente’s information to the Deputy Sheriff- Resendez .
PDF File of the motion :

“In the motion, Gilbert contends there was no probable cause for the search warrant, which the defendants claim was legally sound.”

in May or June of 2008, Captain Richard Resendez, of the Lorain
county Sheriff’s Office learned from Plain Dealer reporter Mark Puente, who was
evidently conducting his own investigation into the letters and underlying accusations,
that the letter writer was Joseph Montelon. (Doc. 55, pp. 30-31)

Armed with the potential identity of the letter writer, the Lorain detectives went to
Mr. Montelon’s home
, some 50 miles away, and seized his trash. The officers were
able to obtain Montelon’s trash on three occasions between July 3rd and August 28,
2008. On at least one occasion, after they took the trash, the officers brought it to a
private law office in Westlake. (Doc. 56, pp. 54-57; Doc. 55, p. 46) The officers wanted
to go through the trash at a “secure location” so that the investigation could remain
covert. (Doc. 56, pp. 54-55; Doc. 58, p. 31) The material that they recovered from the
trash pull further linked Joseph Montelon to the letter writing campaign. (Doc. 54, p. 72)

ED Note:(emphasis mine)

The affidavit also advises that through an “anonymous tip” police learned that Joseph Montelon was the author of the “menacing letters”

In times of concerns the “public” when feeling thwarted by “officialdom” or the system will inevitably turn to the media- Why? they believe them to be a trusted source in order to get their story out- they hope they are unbiased- fair and balanced- they know once the media is involved things tend to happen. Channel 19 claims “when the system lets you down we will be there to back you up”

To me as I read the statements in the depositions that have been documented under oath Mr. Puente was the source for naming Mr. Montelon I have to believe in this case the reporter, Mr. Puente crossed an ethical lineto get chummy?? to get a by line on a bigger story?- who knows why- but he has done his previous employer , in my humble opinion, a disservice along with professional journalism. In this case there are a number of reputations that have been tarnished and sadly along with those tarnished reputations we can add one more . And the wordsmithying abounds……


Entry filed under: a Cow -elle opinion, Brit take, hell is other people, notorious opponents of exactitude, personal opinion. Tags: , .

Christopher Ritchey- The scholarships continue-Thank YOU February 3rd- the earth is flat- Chris Ritchey

32 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Brian  |  February 2, 2012 at 3:15 am

    All matters aside, the police thought that Mr. Montelone committed a crime, but guess what, they are cops, not judges. That is what makes the way and how the search warrant was obtained much more misaligned.

    Before law enforcement raided Joes house, they had some garbage and the sherriffs statement. They couldn’t get an inditement with that, so they got the mother load after persuading some judge somewhere to give them a search warrant.

    Now the cops and the sherriffs have boxes and boxes of “new evidence”, supposedly proof that Montelone was the letter writer, and guess what? Even with all this new possibly overwhelming evidence that Montelone wrote the letters, no inditement of any possible crime.

    As an example, if the police suspected that Mr. Montelone had killed someone and gone thew his trash and found a reciept for a gun that could possibly be the murder weapon, get a search warrant, and then find a gun, BINGO! That is what search warrants are for.

    The sherriffs and police BOTH participated in the raid, found the so called gun(boxes of evidence), and can’t find the dead person(inditement) to make having the gun a crime. OOPS!

    To the casual observer, this don’t look too good for either the LPD or the sherriffs dept because even with Mark Puente’s help, finding exactly what they were looking for, there was no crime committed. Let me repeat that. THERE WAS NO CRIME COMMITTED because there wasn’t even an inditement issues that says a POSSIBLE CRIME may have occurred.

  • 2. Brian  |  February 2, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    I read over on where it is said that there wasn’t a single page, note, or even a few words scribbled on a page of paper to back up the search warrant. Not a single picture of Mr. Montelones trash that was pulled, not even a note that says how and when the detectives were told it was Puente. If the detectives heard that it was Puente through the police chief without asking the sherriff first hand and verifying the info, technically, it is hearsay and not admissable in a court of law.

    If I built you a house with no foundation under it, you wouldn’t care how good it looked at the moment, you would be suing me because you know the house wouldn’t stand on its own.

  • 3. Brian  |  February 2, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    If there isn’t any “evidence” from an investigation, expecially since more than one officer was involved, besides some trash, Lorain is going to get the pants sued off them.

    Like the house example, I would be expected to have a good understanding about how a house is built and if I didn’t follow the law, there is a civil “remedy” for the person harmed.

    The Ohio Revised Codes, which is laws, spell out very clearly the rules of evidence, and if none can be produced, I believe someone is gonna get a very big check to settle this regardless if he was right or wrong for sending the letters because law enforcement is supposed to know the same laws that they are expected to enforce.

  • 4. aka mozart  |  February 2, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    The depo’s are really interesting as well..from Chief and Dennis Will. Terry is a trial lawyer and is very good at what he does. He would not have taken this case on if he felt it was not winable. It will take sometime to get to the trail point, as the city will fight this till the end. Next appeal will be to the 6district court of appeals…and last would be the supreme court…but highly doubts it would go that far, from what I have told. A gag order at anytime would be of no this is already out in the open, and 19news has been on it since the beginning…so we will wait..,and support..and hope a hope.

    I still have not written my letter to the Plain dealer re: Puente…I had made a call,,but now since all have pointed their finger at Punte as the leak…,I have issues i will discuss, that raid and info in the box did not only affect the Montelon family.

  • 5. thatwoman  |  February 2, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    The box part I do not understand – did Puente deliver the box and why was he involved in that? Again this seems to be a case of a reporter involving himself in the story and also actually “directing” an outcome ……..maybe things have changed since my day but that would’ve have been a big no no with my editors and publishers- I know I would have been told see ya!!! (UNLESS) I was totally upfront with my editor and readers from the beginning as to personal involvement in the story……

  • 6. Mary Barth  |  February 2, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    Montelon should be thanking his lucky starts that Terry Gilbert took his case. Gilbert was ranked last year as one of the top trial litigators in the US per a Lawyer’s Magazine. I just wonder how much money was spent investigating this case. Rivera called in the USPS, the Secret Service, FBI, and Mulder and Scully from the X files. Talk was, he was gonna even call the Ghostbusters. What a waste of taxpayer dollars!

  • 7. aka mozart  |  February 2, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    The life of “the box”…

    The box was Mark Puente’s. He had been working police stories since about 2006..he had all the public records that he had requested.

    “the box” was going to be given to Anne Molnar by Puente as she was going to send it to washington for Montelon..mind you, Anne had no idea who Montelon was at that time…Nor did i..We just knew he was a former officer and had plenty to say. We would only talk with him via phone.

    It was decided that the box needed to get to our unknown X officers home, so that copies could be made of everything in the box.

    another former officer had picked up the box from Anne and then delivered to Montelon’s home in Wickliff Ohio. Joe felf the box would be safe there, as it was out of the county…So he thought!

    Montelon then made copies of everything in the box which had arrived to him early Aug. 2008. On the 28th of August, 2008 is when the LPD had decended on the Montelon home…guns blazing and ready to ram the front door down…but joe had gone outside before that could happen. His wife and daughter were terrorized as to what was unfolding. That night Anne and myself found out the name of our unknown officer…joe Montelon…as he had called Anne that night very late..shook up and freaked out. She agreed she would meet with Montelon..She called Mitch Fallis, to see if he would go with her…he declined..she called me..but I never got that message..i must have been fast asleep. Anne went by herself to the McDonalds in Westlake where she had met with Montelon for the first time.Very brave of her to venture out under the cover of darkness, to meet a total stranger..and all she would recognize would be his voice…I believe it was at that time they called Brad Dicken and he too came out. It was a very long night.

    From, the home invasion “the box” was taken and then in the chief’s office. We were told by Amber smith Bronish.. that she had seen the “box” in the chief’s office. In that box, was the copy of the letter that I had written that had gone to washington months prior. That is when the chief started asking questions about me..and was mentioning to amber about the anonymous letters and writer..Joe Montelon. She was visiting the chief right after that raid as he was claiming that he was going to help her get her mother (Nancy) out of prison …as she and joseph Allen were both accused for molesting children in the Head start case. I never believed that his intentions were to help Amber, but rather to see if he could find out more info re the letter writer. Amber had taped all conversations she and the chief had had. Those tapes were not in the box as there talks were after the raid.

    The rest of the history is as it unfolds now…minute by minute…day by day..and year by year. now we wait…we are patient..but mostly hopeful….as we watch yet this story taking many more twists and turns.


  • 8. Mary Barth  |  February 3, 2012 at 12:04 am

    I hope Mark Puente’s present editor has seen this

  • 9. Loraine Ritchey  |  February 3, 2012 at 12:06 am

    So Denise if I am reading this correctly all the information in the “said box” belonged to Mark Puente and were his notes and public records request results? The contents belonged to Puente and not Montelon? The box of Puente’s garnered information was being sent to Washington to the DOJ by Mr. Montelon and was delivered to him via others. So Puente was, again if I am reading this correctly, working with Mr. Montelon to get information to a third party in Washington on the LPD???? and yet he then names Mr. Montelon to a law enforcement collegue of the very people he is sending information on ? This is mind numbing.why a reporter would get so involved is ” beyond my ken”

  • 10. Loraine Ritchey  |  February 3, 2012 at 12:07 am

    Mary I sent the link but don’t expect to hear anything 🙂

  • 11. aka mozart  |  February 3, 2012 at 12:13 am

    Loraine…from what I recall…I dont know if he knew Montelon was behind this..but he had mentioned to anne that he thought he was. I think he and Joe had conversations what extent..i do not know..but Joe told me, he never told Puente that he was the letter was claimed in an affidavit.

  • 12. thatwoman  |  February 3, 2012 at 12:55 am

    But the contents of the box that was delivered to Anne belonged totally to Puente and that is the box that ended up with Mr. Montelon who was to make copies and then send to Washington. Have I got that right and then presumably the original box of information would then be returned to Puente??? But ended up with the LPD.Oh dear curiouser and curiouser said Alice

  • 13. Lola  |  February 3, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    This whole story has the makings of a hollywood movie. Maybe, Cel Rivera needs to retire. The poor man has been a cop 40 + years. There’s just to much controversy at LPD with the present leader running it. Our community needs a leader who is young, educated, and has fresh ideas.

    Captain James McCann is my choice to replace Chief Rivera.

  • 14. Brian  |  February 4, 2012 at 2:31 am

    Let’s see, the chief,three detectives, and one sheriff who are, or have been detectives and not one note, document, picture, or even an old nasty toenail.

    Six people working on the case that are or were LPD, but the questionable attendy at the raid that really has me thinking is the FBI dude? Whats up with that? Who sent “that person”?

    Can any police chief just call up the FBI and say “My fellas are gonna raid a house in another city and it sure would be nice if one of them FBI guys can be there so we can all go out for coffee after.”

    That FBI’s attendance at the raid may carry more weight than the search warrant because the FBI doesn’t send out its officers for dealing with minor crimes.

  • 15. Loraine Ritchey  |  February 4, 2012 at 2:43 am

    I believe the FBI were brought in previously as the suggestion of the Prosecutor if memory serves to look into some allegations made by the writer of the letters, so that may be why they were involved ….
    HYPOTHETICALLY and IF iwere a conspiracacy theorist how about this scenario…

    Suppose a journalist had a real beef with a police department and its personel… so inserted himself into a situation that was going to be detrimental to the said dept. Then told a “friend of the said dept ” information which escalated the situation which ultimately caused a furor and he said she said and litigation. the journalist removes himself for the area and watches as the said dept has to deal with litigation and tarnishing of reputations … and the journalist smiles … outrage and expense and bad publicity giving grief to those he had issues with HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

    Well that makes about as much sense as any of this 😉

  • 16. Brian  |  February 4, 2012 at 3:19 am

    I like the way you think there Loraine. Now throw in a character named Jack Sparrow and we have the script to a best selling movie.

  • 17. Brian  |  February 4, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    I can only see what people show me because I can’t read PDF files with the computer I use. I do however recall seeing somewhere something being said that the prosecutor suggested the Lorain Police contact the FBI, but this still doesn’t explain why there was a FEDERAL FBI agent at the raid.

    People like examples, so here is a few. Do you really need a brain surgeon to do a circumcision? Do you need to be a licensed plumber to hook up a garden hose to an outside spigot? Does little league baseball need Willy Nelson to sing the star spangled banner before the start of a game?

    The answer to all of them is no, so why was there a FEDERAL BEARUE OF INVESTIGATIONS AGENT at a raid that already had a whole bunch of law enforcement folks at that there is no real paperwork of any investigation?

    One last example. I am having a birthday party for my granddaughter and I think it would be really cool to have a real live FBI agent here to entertain the kids. Who would I call to do that?

  • 18. Loraine Ritchey  |  February 4, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    well Brian the brain surgeon/ circumcision analogy since some mailes think with that part of their anatomy that might not be a bad idea BIG 🙂

    but I understand your point…….. actually to me it also seems over the top unless they wanted a “neutral observer”- In the PDF file ( which I believe was copied on Lorain County dot com) found in this post it states :

    After the fifth or sixth letter,
    Rivera contacted the U.S. Postal Service, the U.S. Attorney, the Secret Service, and
    eventually the FBI seeking advice about dealing with the situation. (Doc. 57, pp. 28-33)
    Ultimately the FBI concluded that there was no violation of federal law. (Doc. 57,
    pp. 35-36) Rivera, however, remained concerned that the letter writer was committing a

  • 19. Loraine Ritchey  |  February 4, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    I am , as you are, only scratching the surface of all of this and I am not sure how law enforcement partners… my concern in all of this is the “journalist” involvement ……..

  • 20. aka mozart  |  February 4, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    When I have some time, I will read thru some of the depo’s againand see how the FBI got involved…I am sure I read it somewhere.
    Loraine, so many viotaltions in the is case…ethical, and perhaps abuse of power would be considered criminal…(at least in my book)..i’ll check back here when I might have an answer re: FBI…
    oh wait….i hear someone in my trash can outside…could it be?;)

  • 21. Brian  |  February 4, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    That’s what I read too Loraine, but the FBI doesn’t send out neutral observers on misdaminor search warrants just like they don’t send out agents to kiddie birthday parties.

    It isn’t like the FBI heard about the raid over a police scanner and just decided to show up, so the person to ask a question to is the agent that went on the raid and find out who told him to be there and why he was there.

    There appears to be a whole lot of people who are involved, like the journalist, whose roles are not clearly identified and all should be held to the same ethical standard, none more, or less than the others.

    This is exactly how private citizens who believe that they are helping correct an injustice get railroaded, have their personal reputations tarnished, or worse…

  • 22. Loraine Ritchey  |  February 4, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    There appears to be a whole lot of people who are involved, like the journalist, whose roles are not clearly identified and all should be held to the same ethical standard, none more, or less than the others.

    This is exactly how private citizens who believe that they are helping correct an injustice get railroaded, have their personal reputations tarnished, or worse…

    I agree Brian ……..

  • 23. aka mozart  |  February 4, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    ok…i believe the chief had written a letter to the FBI Oct someone (special agent)..the main concern were the alligations that were made in the anonymous see if he (chief) had committed any crimes as the letters accused him of. He asked the FBI to investigate and make him the defendant. It was also his hope that they would identify the author of the letters…In august he met with an agent named Oliver.(not sure of name).Apparently agent was provided with a brief summary of the Lpd’s investigation.

    That is about the best I can do…there is just so much.

  • 24. Brian  |  February 5, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Sounds like a brief summary the only thing given because there was no investigative reports, documents, or work product to go with it. How in the world does someone say that they need a search warrant to ensure that the party doesn’t destroy the evidence when there isn’t a single piece of evidence to start with besides an unwritten statement that the journalist told a sheriff who told the police chief who told the detectives who told a person who typed out the search warrant who gave it to a judge to sign.

    The FBI just doesn’t show up at someones doorstep. Someone called them and must have said something to get them there and since the sheriff who had no business being there was already there, the search warrant is already tainted.

    There is just something about the assembled “posse” that is somewhat disturbing. The sheriff had no legal reason to be there, in fact, should not have been there because there was no sheriff investigation. In fact, someone had to call the sheriff too, just like the FBI…

  • 25. aka mozart  |  February 5, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    REsendez went along for the ride so to speak..and to ask Joey why joe had mentioned him in the letters? He had no business being there, and was not ordered to go by Stemitti. He went on his own accord.

    There was nothing threatening in the letters..who ever wrote them..esp not to warrant getting the post office, fbi, secret service,,and prosectuor involved…and then finding the judge on his day off playing ball, and asking him to sigh…It is clearly in my opinion an abuse of power…and a violation of the 1st amendement.

    I want to be there when this goes to trail. It will be an education to say the least. I hope at sometime Mr. Puente gets subpoena’d. He did put himself in the mix didn’t he…is that why he left for Fla?

    I will try to find sometime to re-read the depos of all..and refresh what I may have forgotten…as I said,,,there is so much, with such a cast of players…!

  • 26. thatwoman  |  February 5, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Brian I have a copy of the search warrant and two examples of accompanying letters that were used.
    However I hesitate to publish them on this blog as the letters also make reference to people and situations that would be painful at best to those individuals and I have no idea as to their factuality . Mr. Montelon has never claimed he wrote the letters so I cannot ask him to verify and the letters are annoymous so you see my dilemna .

    The search warrant does go into detail about the letters the investigation and the trash searches

    In his depostion Resendez stated:

    Chief Rivera had contacted Sheriff Stammitti and
    16 asked him if he would assign me to look into
    17 allegations that an individual he felt at the
    18 Lorain Police Department may be providing
    19 internal documents and information to people
    20 outside the police department.
    21 Chief Rivera did not know who that individual
    22 may or may not have been, so he could not go to
    23 — within his department. Having been with the
    24 Lorain Police Department, he asked Sheriff
    25 Stimitti if he would assign me to look into thoseallegations, and that was my assignment.

    Resendez also stated as to his involvement with the search

    How is it that you were called upon to be present
    14 at this search if you were not part of the
    15 investigation?
    16 A. I had had — I was made aware by Officer Watkins
    17 that they were going to execute a search warrant
    18 or going to try to obtain a search warrant at
    19 this particular time.
    20 At that point I asked Officer Watkins if I can
    21 just tag along.
    22 Q. Did you get permission from the sheriff’s
    23 department to tag along?
    24 A. Absolutely.

    then there are pages of dialogue as to why at least the Sheriff Dept was called – basically it seems as a courtesy and because of personal ionvolvement in the investigation. hope that helps

  • 27. aka mozart  |  February 5, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    JUST KEEP it close loraine…i have mine too. There will be a time for it…but the depo’s would be good to post if you have…i only have hard copies..and there are alot of pages…ugh!

  • 28. Loraine Ritchey  |  February 5, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    I have linked to the depos I have and that are public record through publication in the Plain Dealer etc. in my posts on Puente.

  • 29. aka mozart  |  February 5, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    Do y0u have the chiefs or Dennis will’s Depo’s? There is one part in Dennis’s where Gilbert is aking how Dennis knew the chief was stressed..and will had said something to the effect that he saw the Chief’;s lip quiiver…and Gilbert asked..and when exactly did you see his lip quiver…I had a good laugh when I read that part….I suspect there will be much more to come throughout the days and months.We shall see…,,while I keep looking over “my” shoulder…I trust no one.,not anymore.

  • 30. Loraine Ritchey  |  February 5, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    No Denise I only have the depositions that were made public to the media

  • 31. Brian  |  February 6, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    I am going to assume that I haven’t seen or read nearly what you or Mozart have read because I do not have “ACCESS” to that information, like most folks and taxpayers.

    I am, like most people, among the great masses, who get spoon fed information from not only the media, but our government and its agencies, and the media. The fact that the media gets most of its information spoon fed to them also shows that the great unwashed, if I am borrowing the term correctly, are being manipulated. I have my own opinion of what has been happening in Lorain. We are all being herded like cattle.

    I may elaborate on this point of view at another time, but I am going to distance myself from this discussion at this time. Go ahead and jump all over the reporter. I agree that he may have done something unethical, but in the end, my belief is that reporters are used, just like everyone else, because as long as we don’t wander to far away from the rest of the pack, we are left alone.

  • 32. Loraine Ritchey  |  February 6, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    well the documentation I have is already out there and was sent to the media. I do not have all the dispositions just the ones made public and also information on PACE

    YES I am am going to “jump all over the reporter”

    One I “know him”- he sat in my living room on more than one occasion and “used me”

    two he deliberately imho misled me and my readers ON “this blog” so therefore I have been “included” and there are consequences to ones actions in my world- especially now –

    three- I believe in fair and unbiased reporting and I believe this part of the story needs to be told and
    four being used has consequences………….

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