It’s all over for the Rack n’ Roll Billiard Club. After suffering years of abuse from city officials who did everything they could to destroy his business, Dave Ruttenberg finally had to close Rack n’ Roll and has a mountain of unpaid debts. Justice delayed has certainly become justice denied for this man who had the courage to fight against wanton abuses of government power in Manassas Park. Today, the bad guys get to claim a victory.
Dave Ruttenberg walked into the perfect storm of a corrupt local government that was fixated on enriching it’s officials through land deals connected with the possible establishment of a satellite wagering facility to be operated by Colonial Downs, and a local police officer with a personal grudge who was eager to settle his personal scores if only the city government would provide him some cover. The police staged drug deals in this business for the purpose of using the evidence against Ruttenberg and co-opted his employees to break the rules Ruttenberg had instructed them to follow, harassed his customers, the city’s vice-mayor solicited lewd behavior and even photographed nude underage girls in the club to be used against Ruttenberg, and the Governing Board used every opportunity available to take the fruits of these unlawful activities to revoke permits and licenses in order to force Ruttenberg out. As the city continued to wrongfully trash Ruttenberg’s reputation, raid his business, and revoke his permit to sell alcohol, his business has been in steep decline that finally ended today.
At the same time the city has worked hard to chase away any buyers of this business, telling them that they will not be able to obtain a Conditional Use Permit from the city. All because the proceeds of any sale would likely be used to help continue Ruttenberg’s legal challenges, not because there’s actually any reasonable basis to deny a permit for this specific location, particularly having seen what’s happened elsewhere in this strip mall. This chasing away of buyers hasn’t happened once or twice, it’s happened to every potential buyer — eight in all. This unconscionable behavior is an outrage.
Were I a resident of the City of Manassas Park, I would immediately launch a recall petition effort in Manassas Park against Mayor Frank Jones. It only takes about 200 signatures to file one of these, which would then result in an expedited trial at which a judge would hear evidence and determine whether the Mayor should be removed from office. The charges against Mayor Frank Jones would include engaging in a conspiracy to obstruct justice by holding evidence that demonstrates that former Vice-Mayor Kevin Brendel engaged in the production of child pornography, appointing this same known child pornographer to the City’s Planning Commission, seizing written briefs provided to members of the Planning Commission and the Governing Board from the mailboxes of these government officials when he didn’t like what they had to say, and concealing evidence of police set-ups of Rack n’ Roll from law enforcement authorities so they could be investigated and prosecuted. There are other possible items in this complaint as well, as the malfeasance of office here runs long and deep.
David Ruttenberg now has nothing left to lose. There’s no possible benefit in trying to play nice and find compromise at this point. It’s time to clean up this mess in Manassas Park, and finally get some long-delayed justice for David Ruttenberg.
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