Controversy is swirling like a tornado around the Warren County Sheriff Department's finding that that there was no "criminal recklessness" or even "criminal negligence" by Shoreline Cruises or the Ethan Allen's captain Richard Paris.
The New York North Country Gazette wrote an article about Mr.Zdrojewski's call for a boycott of "a nation-wide boycott of tourism in Warren County, especially, Lake George" [article can be found here], including a link to this web site. A history of controversy surrounding Sheriff Larry Cleveland as reported by the North Country Gazette can be found here.
Others commentators have weighed in on the boycott proposal on this blog, including:
- Karl Ruane: " I am not surprised with the attempts to cover this matter up by Sheriff Larry Cleveland, as he has been involved in numerous schemes to conceal wrong-doing by various elected officials AND police departments. At one point, falsely arresting a local newspaper publisher for exposing wrong-doings by local elected officials, in the end completely driving the woman out of business."
- M. Gilson: "The incident with the Ethan Allen was an accident and not negligence..."
- Jamie Patterson: "Clearly this is what it was an Accident, pointing fingers, playing the blame game, boycotting a county. How will this bring what you've already lost back? How are you truly letting the dead rest in peace, with an ongoing war? I believe the company should face strict fines and that NY really should look at the requirements in place for sailing such vessels..."
- Kimberly McCarthy: "I am extremely sympathetic to everyone that has been affected by the Ethan Allen tragedy. ... I feel if you would like to boycott the boating company, it is completely understandable. The boycott of an entire town would kill a community."
- Kenny Wood: "The tragedy on Lake George has definitely opened the eyes to the unsafe conditions of the boats that shoreline cruises operates. I agree with you that justice should be served for those responsible. The idea of boycotting the Lake George are though is ridiculous! Why should everyone who lives in Lake George suffer more by losing their main means of making money?"
My own two cents worth. The Sheriff's department report is a farce. As an attorney, I see negligent homicide cases brought against the drivers of cars all the time when their negligence causes death (an there does not need to be drinking involved). What is interesting here is that the Sheriff's Department reached their conclusions before most of the facts which might impact the issue of recklessness/negligence have been revealed by the NTSB. What if it turns out that the NTSB report (due out this summer) finds that the bilge pump was neglected, that the owner/operator new that the vessel was unstable with 48 people on board etc etc?
Further, the suggestion of "no criminal charges" were first reported months ago, before much of the basic information was even available. It does appear that this report was outcome determinative.