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The Anatomy Of A Setup

By Greg L | 2 February 2007 | Rack & Roll Scandal | 10 Comments

How would you react if you learned that your local police department had recruited one of your employees to perform their duties in a manner contrary to your direction so that you could be implicated in something illegal? Would outraged begin to describe it? NovaTownHall made mention recently of a character by the name of Tom Kifer, the former head of security at Rack & Roll, whom the Joint Narcotics Task Force of Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park recruited to do just that. It’s probably worth walking through the story in order to really see why Joe Budzinsky thought this otherwise obscure individual was worthy of mention.

Tom Kifer is an ex-marine, small-time professional wrestler, and not coincidentally a very good bouncer, as well as a carpenter during the day. His night job for Dave is to manage five other bouncers, keep the place orderly, and free of troublemakers. Instead, two other bouncers end up getting co-opted by the police, and Kifer and his fellow traitors start shepharding drug dealers into the place whenever undercover police are available to be the buyers.

Here’s how Tom Kifer described it in a phone conversation with Dave Ruttenberg:

Kifer: And then there was the drug deal that happened ah…I was there…standing close by…the detective who I still know as Rob Tobias…I don’t even know who the f*** his real name is…I think it’s White or Jones or…

Ruttenberg: Yeah, they got him as White.

Kifer: OK. Well, I don’t know who the f*** he is. Who…who his real people are, or his name is.

Ruttenberg: All right.

Kifer: He wanted to do a drug deal in front of you, to make it look like you saw the drug deal going on and did nothing about it.

Listen to audio clip 1

So here Kifer lays out the general plan: as head of security, grant access to drug dealers into Rack & Roll in order to facilitate drug deals between them and an undercover officer by the name of White, and then say this is somehow Dave Ruttenberg’s fault. Notice how police or those working for them are on both sides of the transaction here?

The conversation continues about how exactly one of these transactions happened, and mentions Kifer’s testimony at an ABC hearing:

Kifer: Well, the number one main question was, ah…would have been…and did…and did the police officers talk and did Officer Tobias or whoever his name was, the narcotic guy, ah…did he at any time suggest that you make a drug ah…a drug deal with me done in front of David. You were serving soda over the counter top. He was there. He made your drug deal, and you looked dead at me while he was making a drug transaction with somebody else. And I told the guy, I said “Look, when Dave’s got twenty-thousand people in his club, he doesn’t see what’s in front of his face, he’s seeing how he can make another sale of a soda here or a cracker here or a pool table here.

Ruttenberg: Well, how am I supposed to see over the bar, anyway? There…Everybody’s hands are below the bar unless he’s doing it up over…at shoulder level.

Kifer: It was…it was shoulder level. It was above the bar where…where…where if you…if you were paying attention you would have clearly seen the deal.

Ruttenberg: What was passed between them?

Kifer: Marijuana.

Ruttenberg: How much?

Kifer: Couldn’t have been much. Aluminum bag. Something that could have been a slight of hand trick between the passer of money and the passer of the drug.

Ruttenberg: Right. Yeah.

Kifer: But, the question was then, because everyone’s pinpointing you, did…did…did the police officer, or did anyone ever indicate to you that ah…it would be really great if we could show that Dave knew that drugs were being sold. ‘Cause until then they never had that. When that took place, they had it. You didn’t see it. I know you didn’t see it, ‘cause I saw your eyes going a million miles an hour left and right, checking out the club, looking at the girls and everything else. What you care about two f***ing hairy dudes standing in front of your face having a private conversation.

Ruttenberg: Yeah, I have no memory of that. I mean, I had a…three hundred people in the club that night.

Kifer: That was the question, the number one question. The number one question, I’ll repeat it again, is “Did the cops ever try to create the scenario in front of Dave so…to imp…implicate him as knowing that drugs were being sold in there and not doing nothing about it.”

Ruttenberg: And you’re saying they did that.

Kifer: Yes.

Ruttenberg: And did they ever talk about that in those meetings?

Kifer: No. It was…it was talked in the car before ah…before the night started. It would have been nothing that was premeditated, it was something that…Well, it was premeditated in the fact that it came up, ah…prior to, ah…

Ruttenberg: So why would they want to do that? Don’t…don’t you think they’d want to bust the drug dealers? Why are they trying to…to hem me up on something I’m innocent about?

Kifer: Well, I never testified that you knew, did I? Well, you remember that…in that hearing?

Listen to audio clip 2

This is someone working for the police, who has just admitted that he participated in the fabrication of evidence. Now let’s find out what might possess someone to do something like this…

Kifer: Dave, when I…when I read that report, that report said Officer Lugo and you were well into a…a love-hate relationship way before I even got involved, while I was still in prison and probably before then. When you was dating some girl and…over a speeding ticket and all that bullsh**. Look, I didn’t…I had no idea. All I thought I was going to do was get rid of some drug dealers and…and…and just go along our merry way. I didn’t know that the city and the county and everybody else was out to destroy you. I only figured it out when they tried to implicate you and to…to visualize a drug deal. And when I saw that happening, I still couldn’t say nothing because I was still on probation. And, why would they let me off probation early if that’s the only thing they had over my head to keep me working for them? ‘Cause once I discovered and I questioned them on it, then they turned around and go, “Tom, you’re on probation, we can help you or we can hurt you.” And I was looking at eight years backup.

Listen to audio clip 3

Ruttenberg: And when they arrested you, what…what happened after that?

Kifer: They drove me around the corner…drove the truck around the corner and let me go.

Ruttenberg: So how come the next day you came up to the back door and said that…and asked if I’d let you back in, and I said that I wanted to see your…your arrest papers.? Remember, you said you’d bring them by?

Kifer: Well, yeah, I did say all that, but at…at that point…at that point I was just trying to save face. I mean, I’d already come to the conclusion of what they were doing, and what they were trying to do. And ah…I felt used in the process. And I was given nothing for any of it.

Ruttenberg: Well, you testified in the ABC hearing that you were a paid informant. You used the word “paid” informant.

Kifer: I…I signed a document and the document says the paper that you have to say is a paid informant, but I am telling you and I will tell every judge in the world that I never received a dime from them, not a nickel.

Ruttenberg: Do you have a copy of that document?

Kifer: I’m trying to find it right now, because I need to give it to my lawyer, because they said…because if I signed the document saying I was a paid informant. But don’t you think they would have their attorneys be helping me right now, instead of leaving me out in the f**king cold? There ain’t nobody helping me in this. There’s nobody talking to me in this. There’s just me against your five-million-dollar lawsuit. They said they’d be there for me; they’re not. They said they’d reduce my probation; they didn’t. They said they’d give me a pardon; they didn’t. What’s this sh**…

Ruttenberg: What’s this stuff about eight years hanging over your head?

Kifer: I did two years in prison on a ten-year sentence. That means that if I violate it…probation, I could…I could serve up to my full sentence, which is eight years. Five years each on…on two bad checks.

Listen to audio clip 4

This sounds more like a mafia set-up than a police investigation. You help us, we’ll help you, otherwise we might just have to make your life complicated. And these are supposed to be the good guys. The only problem is that even if you do help them out, I guess you’re not guaranteed that they’ll actually honor their word and give you what they promised. The irony is huge in that the former employee of Ruttenberg is complaining to him that the police didn’t honor their deal with him whereby he would help destroy the business:

Kifer: Well, if you’re found guilty of everything, then how can you possibly think that you’ve got a five million law suit?

Ruttenberg: Well, because they fabricated evidence and they lied.

Kifer: Well, I don’t…I don’t know enough about the law to see that…

Ruttenberg: They’re going to bring in…send in drug dealers. You weren’t their first attempt. They had tried it the year earlier, while you were in jail, using somebody else, who’d got in trouble, and they let them off their trouble in exchange for putting drug dealers in my club.

Kifer: They didn’t let me off for jack sh**.

Ruttenberg: Well…

Kifer: I’ll tell you what. If you can prove that they gave me one thing worth more than one cent of a favor or anything, I will…I will…

Ruttenberg: Well, that’s why we need that paper that you got.

Kifer: But I’m telling you that I didn’t receive nothing.

Ruttenberg: Right, but they promised it to you.

Kifer: So…so…so…so I’m going down to look like the bad guy for you…

Ruttenberg: You’re not going down to look like the bad guy. You have nothing to lose.

Kifer: You get five million dollars while I walk the streets as a f**king homeless broke motherf**ker.

Ruttenberg: No, Tom, you’re not gonna be…Look…Listen, nobody’s gonna take anything from you. Even if we win the suit, OK, you don’t have anything. We’re not interested in what you have. We sued you because we want you to come in and tell the truth.

Listen to audio clip 5

Unreal. Before engaging in this story, I would never have imagined that sworn police officers could engage in this sort of conspiracy to fabricate evidence, cause witnesses to commit perjury, and manufacture circumstances which would cast doubt on whether someone should be allowed to have a permit to sell beer in a poolhall. Remember that charges have never been filed against David Ruttenberg, and there appears to never have been an investigation into whether he was engaging in criminal conduct. The clear intent here was to create an environment such that an ABC permit could be revoked.

Now how do you suppose that thousands of man-hours of police efforts, at taxpayer expense can be devoted to fabricating evidence in regards to an administrative procedure? Who decides how law enforcement resources are directed, and sets the priorities? That would be Chief Evans, the same Chief Evans that told his nephew Gary Evans, a former Fairfax County Sheriff, that he stood to make a fortune in some land deal in Manassas Park. He has the means to direct law enforcement resources, the documentation surely exists in police records to document Chief Evans’ direction of those resources, and there’s strong evidence that indicates why he would act in this manner. Means, method, and motive.

Now if Paul “as effective as Ham Sandwich” Ebert could get off his posterior and do something, it’s time for him to indict Manassas Park Police Chief Evans for multiple felonies. If he won’t do it, the FBI just might, which could result in some light being shed on the question of Paul Ebert’s own involvement in this sordid matter and why he decided to halt a previous investigation into this.

Tick, tock. This is going to break wide open, soon.

The opinions expressed here are solely the views of the author, and not representative of the position of any organization, political party, doughnut shop, knitting guild, or waste recycling facility, but may be correctly attributed to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. If anything in the above article has offended you, please click here to receive an immediate apology.

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  1. Anonymous said on 3 Feb 2007 at 5:11 am:
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    Paul Ebert has finally met his match, in that the full force of the Federal Government is coming in to sort out this mess. This latent State Police “investigation” is only there trying to find a way to save face for the lame excuse of justice that failed earlier. Here’s the reality folks (and I hope the appropriate authorities involved previously are reading this blog now — we have all heard you are) — COME CLEAN. When the FBI and US Justice contact you, lay it on the table and tell the truth. The people who have the balls to do this can cut a deal and stay out of jail. Just cut your deals now. If you don’t see how this is all going to play out, then may God have pity on your souls.

  2. Loudoun Insider said on 3 Feb 2007 at 9:07 am:
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    Greg, one side comment to this - where’s James Young, Charles, Citizen Tom and the rest of the Gill apologists on this? Why don’t they share in this outrage? This is absolutely ridiculous!

  3. charles said on 3 Feb 2007 at 5:28 pm:
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    I can’t speak for the others, but the only information I have is what Greg is presenting, so I have nothing else to add. I’m reading these stories in disbelief, not that I think Greg or someone is lying–just that it’s hard to believe.

    I haven’t written a column about this because Greg said there was an article coming and I thought I’d wait for the article.

    Having been involved in the 2004 election for the off-track betting, I have an opinion from that perspective, but I never knew what was happening behind the scenes.

    LI, nice try though, trying to tie Gill to this mess.

  4. AWCheney said on 3 Feb 2007 at 5:59 pm:
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    LI is right Charles…you view genuine evidence (security videos, audios/transcripts, documents) and you feel it’s not enough simply because “it’s hard to believe” and therefore you can’t comment. I have also noticed the absolute silence on that side. There is a certain incongruity to that.

  5. AWCheney said on 3 Feb 2007 at 6:48 pm:
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    Anonymous, you are quite right…any “bogus” investigation will be found out and anyone involved in attempting cover-up will no doubt have serious consequences. The Ruttenbergs may have seemed like easy marks in the past because they believed so faithfully in the system and in the judicial process, not because they were dishonest or stupid…quite the opposite. Their disullusionment is now virtually complete, so those of us who have believed in them for some time now who had no such illusions are even more determined that this get turned around for them no matter WHO goes down in the process.

  6. Loudoun Insider said on 4 Feb 2007 at 9:35 am:
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    Charles, there was no attempt to link this to Gill, it is obvious that he is not linked. Once again you see an anti-Gill conspiracy where none exists. My simple point was that for all the finger typing that you and some others expend defending Gill, I have seen little if nothing at all defending a local businessman from obvious public persecution. Gill is a candidate for public office, Dave Ruttenberg is a private citizen and business owner. Big difference as far as the court of public opinion goes.

  7. Golem said on 4 Feb 2007 at 10:09 am:
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    This is a blatant appeal to constitutional lawyers out there for assistance.

    By now, considering the documentation presented in this post and its predecessors (not to mention what is to come), two things are painfully obvious: (1) the Rutttenbergs have been subjected to a vicious injustice which has subjected them to substantial economic and emotional damage; and (2) the public’s interest in the assurance of the protection of their constitutional rights from the malfeasance of powerful officials has been sorely compromised. The cleansing sunlight focused by the likes of Graig, Radley. Anke and others will go far in the battle to protect the public. The Ruttenbergs, on the other hand, can only be made whole by a fair application of due process of law in the Federal court.

    The dismissal of Ruttenberg v. Jones, 1:06cv639, by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern Distric of Virginia, has been appealed to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit located in Richmond, Virginia. The Docket Number is 07-1037. The Docketing Statement sets forth the following issues for consideration by the court:

    (1) Whether the trial court erroneously concluded that plaintiffs’ had no protectible property interest in their conditional use permit.

    (2) Whether the trial court erroneously concluded that adequate post-deprivation remedies were available to the plaintiffs, when the complaint clearly stated that certain defendants manufactured evidence to support the deprivation of plaintiffs’ licenses and permits and then lied during official proceedings about their conduct.

    (3) Whether the trial court’s decision to dismiss Count 1 erroneously ignored the deprivation of plaintiffs’ property interest in the business itself, for which there is no remedy in any state court post-deprivation proceedings.

    (4) Whether the trial court’s (sic) erred in ruling that plaintiffs failed to allege sufficient facts to demonstrate deprivation of their First Amendment rights, when the allegations in the complaint, taken as a whole, are accepted as true.

    (5) Whether the trial court erred in finding that defendants’ were entitled to qualified immunity on Count 3 when the conduct alleged in the complaint included the intentional manufacturing of false evidence to support a raid on plaintiffs’ premises and fabricated testimony regarding the raid; as well as the knowing search and seizure of premises not subject to administrative search in clear violation of plaintiffs’ fourth amendment rights.

    (6) Whether the trial court erred in rulng that plaintiffs failed to allege sufficient facts to demonstrate that defendants engaged in a conspiracy to deprive them of constitutional rights, when the allegations in the complaint, taken as a whole, are accepted as true.

    The Ruttenbergs have excellent representation in this matter. Although Neil Ruttenberg is one of the counsels of record, I’m referring now to his co-counsel. I have no doubt that comprehensive, in depth, articulate arguments will be filed on their behalf. However, there is a strong tendency for courts to protect police officials from 42 USC § 1983 litigation in their desire, probably properly so, to allow police to perform their essential duties without the constant harrassment of nuisance suits. The Ruttenbergs need to convince the court that this is not a nuisance suit. They need to convince the court that the proper resolution of the issues presented above is essential for the protection of the most basic of constitutional rights. The Ruttenbergs would be most grateful if interested constitutional experts would consider amicus curiae briefs to the 4th Circuit on their behalf. Its just possible that many in the public would be grateful as well.

    If your interested, pleasse send an e-mail to Greg who will make the necessary connections.

  8. The Liberty Papers »Blog Archive » More from Manassas Park said on 4 Feb 2007 at 5:32 pm:
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    […] written before about the plight of the David Ruttenberg and his bar. There’s been some new developments, and the police look worse than ever. Radley Balko’s Cliff’s Notes version: […]

  9. BLACK VELVET BRUCE LI : More Press Coverage said on 15 Feb 2007 at 1:13 am:
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    […] A few people talking in a room is somehow newsworthy. Dave Ruttenberg gets his life ruined by corrupt officials in Manassas Park, and there’s hardly a word. The DPVA committs blatant electoral fraud, and […]

  10. patrick said on 21 May 2007 at 12:31 pm:
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    would like to see an update ,, this story is very interesting.

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