The recent dismissal of the lawsuit filed by Dave Ruttenberg against the City of Manassas Park and some of it’s officials has gotten noticed by Radley Balko, the blogger who covered the story of the huge military-style raid conducted at Rack & Roll under the authority of a routine Alcohol & Beverages Commission investigation in 2004. He writes:
Since that raid, Ruttenberg has essentially lost his bar. The state has revoked his liquor license, despite the fact that the charges against him were either paltry, or, with respect to the more serious charges (mostly, allowing drug deals to go on in his business), were instigated by the police, either by undercover officers or the informants who were working for them. They have chased away his customers with threats and harassment, spread vicious rumors about Mr. Ruttenberg around the town, and even scared off would-be buyers of the business.
There’s actually even more to the story, which I can’t get into right now, but will soon. Suffice it say, this man and his business have been ruined by the city of Manassas Park, its elected officials, and its police officers. It’s really a horrible story.
I’ve looked into this myself, and agree with Balko’s take on Dave Ruttenberg’s story. As far as I can determine, Dave Ruttenberg is being mercilessly harassed by the city when other establishments who have far worse records are getting their wrists slapped at best. I have been at a complete loss to figure out why this might be happening, and without an explanation for this this whole ordeal it has had the appearance of some bizarre conspiracy theory advanced by folks who desperately need psychotropic medication. In this day and age, why the heck would a city go out of it’s way to make life difficult for one of it’s local businessmen who at least keeps a rather unremarkable strip mall from otherwise having a lot of vacant space?
Then I remembered reading something long ago in the Washington Post about where the proposed location was for Colonial Downs to establish an off-track betting facility in Manassas Park that got defeated in two referenda, the last being in 2004. It was at the Manassas Park Shopping Center. And the location of Rack & Roll? Same place. Now is this just some sort of bizarre coincidence, or do the visions of dollar signs dancing about the heads of those who might stand to make millions in Manassas Park have something to do with the reason Dave Ruttenberg has been having such a hard time?
Maybe we’ll find out, but it’s going to be harder when the court won’t even allow evidence to be considered which would substantiate the harassment Rutternberg claims has happened. Perhaps we’ll have to find another venue for this discussion.
I think some heads are going to rack & roll.
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