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Fundraiser Ad Lands Man In Jail

April 19, 2012 by  

Fundraiser Ad Lands Man In Jail
In Lockport, N.Y., electronic billboards must have the same message for 10 minutes.

A businessman in Lockport, N.Y., will have to serve a 15-day sentence for violating the town’s sign ordinance.

Lockport law requires that electronic billboards can change only once every 10 minutes. David Mongielo thought the law was phrased poorly, so he had a sign that changed more often.

“The law reads that the format or the message may only change once every ten minutes, so the format is the program, so video is a format. That alone means it’s legal,” argued Mongielo.

His first violation was in 2009, and he had to pay a fine of $700. He was warned that the next violation would land him 15 days behind bars.

Mongielo recently was using his sign to intermittently display fundraising ads. His ad changed before 10 minutes in order to advertise a fundraiser for a local Sheriff’s deputy who lost both his legs in a traffic accident.

“Displaying a fundraising event, happy birthday message, anything non-commercial, it’s for my constitutional right; they can’t regulate it,” Mongielo.

But the city thought otherwise. The Lockport businessman faces a $250 fine and jail time.

“It’s shocking; it’s disturbing. I am a patriot and it’s sad that dysfunction of America can show we really don’t have any freedoms locally,” he said.

Frank Housh, Mongielo’s attorney, said: “There’s so much wrong with this prosecution … there’s so much wrong with this case that I can’t really begin.”

Bryan Nash

Staff writer Bryan Nash has devoted much of his life to searching for the truth behind the lies that the masses never question. He is currently pursuing a Master's of Divinity and is the author of The Messiah's Misfits, Things Unseen and The Backpack Guide to Surviving the University. He has also been a regular contributor to the magazine Biblical Insights.

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  • HisSon

    I live in a nearby town and know that one of his competitors is on the board for the Town of Lockport. This may or may not have been a factor but he should have excused himself from the proceedings.

    • Rocky Night

      “So this is how liberty dies, with the sound of thunderous applause” (quote)

      Keep America free please.

    • P-ode

      I have resided in Western NY all my life and have yet to see a time when corruption wasn’t the norm. The town of Lockport is a narrow minded all republican system that is endorsed by, guess what, more state republicans. Imbalance of power is an understatement. If you were looking to hand out an award for the US city most likely to suceed at communism, Lockport would be at the top of the list. We elected them so guess who’s to blame, all of us. But even that process is corrupt. Take their power from them and all you’ll have left is a bunch of shallow shells of human beings. Get out of your armchairs America and wake up.

  • Rich

    Having been born and raised in Western New York it doesn’t surprise me a bit. They have so many stupid laws that you break on or two every day with out knowing it. It is not about saftey or whats right. It’s about “Control. Plain and simple”. Thank God I live in Georgia now and if they start doing it here Texas here I come.

    • 45caliber


      It isn’t just NY. A lawyer and I were talking after someone broke into my car a few years ago. He told me that it is physically impossible to not break at least one law a day since there are so many little laws no one knows about. In fact, he said there were so many that even someone who does know them will forget and break one simply because there are too many to remember. And the government likes it that way since they can always get you for something if they get mad at you.

  • Sirian

    This is but one of many such cases that have been on an increase of happening across our country. Some are down right crazy, others debatable, but most seem to be really pushing the edge. Isn’t it amazing how absurd some city ordinances can be? Check the ordinances in your own city – you’ll be surprised as to what you may find. With that, I understand why his attorney finally said. . . “there’s so much wrong with this case that I can’t really begin.” It would be interesting to see which way this one ends up.

  • Mark-Edward

    One would think that it would be far more reasonable for the “government” to rip a billboard down for a “violation” rather than to sieze a man contrary to the 4th Amendment (siezure without a warrant – a warrant needing a sworn affidavit from an injured party) and put an American in a cage. Why is it that American’s don’t seem to think it outrageous to put people in jail for every stupid little thing? Is there any worse form of government tyranny than to be able to snatch a man off the street, take him away from his work, destroy his ability to feed his family, take away a family’s primary source of finance, protection, and leadership, all this without an injured party? Why has jail become the one-size-fits-all solution for every “government” action? Why is it normal for nearly every court action in this country to be initiated by the “government” AGAINST one of the people? Why is the government always the prosecutor in every case? Why is the government always attacking the people? Isn’t this upside down?

    JAIL? For a billboard “violation”?? Wake up America!

    • Deerinwater

      “Why has jail become the one-size-fits-all solution for every “government” action? ”

      My answer to your question would be, That is what they have invested time, money and attention in, which is actually an arm or extension of the court system.

      It is an “Industry” that administers the ‘rule of law’ and separates citizens from their money or liberty or both in the name of justice and fairness. But it’s not ‘just’ jail but the threat of jail that would have you willing submit to a “Blow & Go” on your car or have you fitted for a nice ankle proximity bracket to control your movement.

    • Wumingren

      Mark-Edward, thank you for bringing out the basic absurdity of the penalties citizens endure due to legalism in America. It brings to mind what legalism leads to under communist rule. Instead of time spent behind bars for trivial offenses, citizens are sent to labor camps (Gulags in Russia, Laogai in China), often to never be heard from again.

      Over 50 million Chinese citizens have been sent to laogai under Communist rule. The Chinese Communist government said of its laogai system, “Our economic theory holds that the human being is the most fundamental productive force. Except for those who must be exterminated physically out of political consideration, human beings must be utilized as productive forces, with submissiveness as the prerequisite. The Laogai system’s fundamental policy is ‘Forced Labor as a means, while Thought Reform is our basic aim.’”

      Obama said that there is a lot we can learn from the People’s Republic of China. In as much as some of his closest advisors have pictures of Chairman Mao hanging behind their public office desks, and in as much as Bill Ayers once said that to ensure a successful Communist revolution in America they would have to send 25 million die-hard American capitalists to re-education camps to be eliminated, what does Obama wish to learn but Communist Revolution? Obama wishes to learn how to conduct a Communist Revolution, and he wishes to learn how to guard against push-back from counter-revolutionaries.

      The Chinese people had been disarmed (most had never been armed), making it easy to dispatch an estimated 114 million Chinese citizens from 1923 through 1987. This is why it is so important for the Democrats (a.k.a. liberals, a.k.a. progressives, a.k.a. socialists, a.k.a. communists) to embrace the UN Small Arms Treaty and give themselves cover for confiscating all firearms from private citizens. The Democrats sense that they are on the cusp of tipping America over to full-blown socialism, and they are eager to see it accomplished under Obama. They fear a counter revolution, and they are going to attempt to disarm all American civilians to ensure their victory.

      My friends, I am a proud counter-revolutionary. I will not give up my firearms. I daily rehearse what I must do in the event a rogue, socialist cum Communist dictatorship sends its jackbooted thugs out to raid American homes to confiscate privately owned firearms. I predict that such an attempt will mark the opening rounds of gunfire in a new American Civil War. Any order by this rogue government to confiscate our firearms will be an act of war against the American people

      If you have not prepared your hearts for such an eventuality, you are not prepared to defend the Constitution, your liberty, and your very life. Otherwise, you are willing to become anonymous members of the submissive proletariate. Here’re your chains. Wear them well, but don’t complain to me when they chafe.

      Our forefathers fled Europe due to religious and economic oppression. Under Democrats in general and Obama specifically, we are suffering religious and economic oppression. My fellow Americans, there is no place left on the globe for us to flee. We must stand our ground.

      In liberty!


    You people in USA are just plain mad.

    • Mark-Edward

      I think you are correct.

      1. mentally disturbed; deranged; insane; demented.

      I think American’s have what is called “Cognitive dissonance”… among other mental ailements.

    • Homer

      You GOT that right in Australia, and I am from the U.S.A and I even have a Birth cert, and can prove it, and yet the (supposed) president can not! I’d like to know what makes Australia so special? How is the Moooselim problem there? Maybe I’ll live there, but….I think the whole world has lost it’s mind, don’t you!!! Write back, please? Homer


        Your law makers are mad and our law makers are learning from yours it seems. Your legal and Health care system is mad and too expensive and our lawyers are learning their new tricks from yours. Our MEDICARE is the best taxpayer healthcare system on earth. You should try it if you dont mind paying more taxes…the best sociall return for the taxation buck. Our Aussie doctors dont have to worry about bad debts because Medicare pays them direct so i suppose helps to keep our medical billls much cheaper than USA.

        We dont really have a Muslim problem …they dont worry me or my family in my neck of woods in Victoris. They just seem to have a few weird ideas they want us to take on…but we dont have to follow their ideas although some seem ok …like no alcohol…would cut down on bar I like the idea of women wearing Burkas …to hide the ugly ones faces and certainly would be less murders by insanely crazy jealous husbands and boyfriends of their good looking women. And now there is going to be a pray room at all football fields because they asked for good idea as we Christians never had them …Chapels at the footy? lol but not many christians go to church or pray it seems…so only the Muslims will be using them…but we could start another religion or two so we can use these prayer rooms when our team is on the skids…would praying help.?

        We got our share of muslim criminals but no more than other cultures but in Sydney they seem to be shooting each other out of life.every day, not just muslims but other faiths including Christians. I like competition and why not competing religions in the market place, certainly might get the brains working better.

        But that silly law was just plain silly.

  • Homer

    WHY is the govt, state, local or federal, getting into our business! The free market should determine what is and what is not permissiable! I realize there are rules that makes sense but what about the ones that only seek to control and take away freedoms that are God-given! I’LL tell you the whole problem….this govt statted w/taking Prayer and Bible study out of schools and taking the 10 commandments off the walls and then aborting over 53 million babaies and what would you expect? God is ignored by a nation that began w/a KJV Bible and God in every aspect of life, so what do anyone think will happen? You think maybe Gods a bit P.O.d…you are rejecting Him and so…what would you do if your children were rejecting you, or telling you you weren’t good enough to get their attention? Expect more and more trouble the more you reject Jesus Christ !!! Joshua 24:15 KJV As for me….I will serve the LORD!!!

  • Ted Crawford

    This type of incident should remind us that while it’s very important to involve ourselves in National Politics, it’s perhaps even more important to become a factor in our local political arena.
    I live in a small town, our City Council meets on the second Thursday of each month. At most of these meetings I’m the only attendie that has no specific reason for being there. It seems that the only time anyone else attends is when they have a complaint or something really big is on the table. It’s my belief that , that in a nut shell, is the primary reason we have this out of touch and out of control Federal Government!

  • Geoff Allen

    So, Lockport is one town to stay far away from. The actions of the local government smacks of small mindedness. Seems to me that there are far more important issues in this country than pursuing citizens for dreamed up infractions. When local government has the time and inclinations to pursue these worthless ideals, it is time to boot them out of office. Hopefully the country will do the same in November.

  • 45caliber

    Frank Housh, Mongielo’s attorney, said: “There’s so much wrong with this prosecution … there’s so much wrong with this case that I can’t really begin.”

    Hey, he went up against some local politicians! They run everything. They will tell you so. So you cannot do what they tell you not to do.

    One local politician here wanted a man fired and blacklisted from his job because he spoke out against what the politician wanted. When the employer told him it was against the law, the politician stated, “No, it isn’t. I run this town and what I want I get!”

    • Geoff Allen

      Sounds like an environment of corruption.

      • Sirian

        Washington D.C.?

  • mitakuwe

    So this is what America has come to, laws regulating sign formats. There is NO common sense left in government, anymore. Clearly a 1st Ammendment violation. Fine and prosecute just because you THINK you can, create havoc and cow everybody else at the same time. That’s REAL government! I see nothing by the People or for the People in this law or it’s prosecution.

  • Mary Ann Ludwig

    I think I might demand t know what purposed this “regulation” serves. Does it prevent people from hanging out on the street to watch the sign change? Does it prevent accidents because the sign changes too often? What exactly is accomplished by regulating the amount of time a sign must remain on one topic? If there is no logical imperative for this regulation it should be discarded at once. Simple, no?

    • carrobin

      Billboards that change every few minutes would seem to me to be a traffic hazard–drivers are distracted by them. The ones who aren’t tweeting or texting, anyway.

    • Wumingren

      Mary Ann, it is my understanding that the regulations are an attempt to prevent accidents caused by inattentive drivers who can’t rip their eyes off the billboards. Here in Minnesota, those digital billboards are not allowed to use video, animated elements, strobes or flashing graphics/text, because that might cause people to stare too long. We also have a law that says the signs must not change more often than once every 8 seconds. This is considered the optimum time to allow drivers to see an ad or two as they drive by. The time allowed not only gives the driver time to read the one or two ads, but also to know that she will not see the next sign before she drives past, thus preventing her from staring too long.

    • Mark-Edward

      This question about what purpose the regulation serves leads me to one of my main points on this issue.

      The “government” has a regulation about SIGNS. Whether it is a legitimate regulation or not isn’t very relevant when a MAN is put in jail. The real issue is that the regulation regulates SIGNS. Why, then, is the MAN put behind bars?? If the SIGN is in violation, unplug the SIGN. Go after the ITEM that is the problem, not the MAN. I’m not suggesting that I think in any way that it is ok for “government” to destroy private property, but long before they put a man in a cage, they should have gone after the property first. Then the man can have a shot at due process, and challenge the proposed attack against his property. It is far easier, and much more civilized, to try and get compensation for damaged property than it is to ever try and get the “government” to compensate for false arrest and imprisonment of a man.

      Anybody who cares one whit about liberty or freedom should be utterly outraged at how easy it is for these nazi jack-booted thugs to abduct people in America, and put them in a cage. We have more prisoners than China!

  • Mary Ann Ludwig

    Sorry about the typos…

    • john matullo

      residents of lockport n.y., hear ye, hear ye! what ever you do, do not open a lemmonade stand! you may go to jail if you sell lemmonade for 50 cents a cup, unless you have a fire extiguisher, bigger then your lemmonade sales person child!
      is government totally dumb, and totally out of control or what?
      our government is supposed to fear you and me! that includes lemmonade sales persons, and bilboard renters! lets open up lemmonade stands on every corner of our country, on my birthday, june third! lets declare june third, totally illegal lemmonade stand in dumb governments eye day. minus the fire extinguishers, and employer tax documents! i like pink lemmonade! it’s my birthday, and my idea, so make it pink! i think we need some less then 10 minute bilboard advertising! can any body help me with this?

      • http://Aol CommonSense4America

        I for one like your idea. It’s also my wifes’ birthday, so I know she will also agree with you. WE THE PEOPLE should all stand up to our really PC stupid laws and just say NO. No more running roughshod over the people.

  • http://halll Ed

    RUN for office and change things…get ppl off their dead asses and campaigning…tho we may have to fight a bloody war again here, we still can make it harder for idiots like Obama and such…Get involved and others too…

  • Dens

    What has happened to New Yorkers? Why do they let their leaders treat them like such dumb sheep? The New Yorkers I knew in the army would fight just for the hell of it and did not like being told what to do if they didn’t think it was right.

    But, I guess on thinking about it a bit, we all have been pulling our punches lately. Those New Yorkers I knew are likely gone, probably to Florida, to escape the repressive New York taxes and the cold weather in their old age. I’ll bet some of them will still fight at the drop of a hat though.

  • Linda

    Doesn’t the Lockport government have anything better to do than to pick on one person who chooses freedom of speech. He did run for office and lost and this is why they are picking on David. David voiced the truth and wants to help the people but the crooks don’t want that because then they would not have control by hiring there family to fill the jobs. GET THE CROOKS OUT OF OFFICE AND GET THE COMMON MAN WHO UNDERSTANDS THE PEOPLE AND THE ISSUES IN THERE AREA.

  • http://Aol CommonSense4America

    Before I retired, I had to live in one of the New England states. The worst IMO were N.Y., Conn., and Mass.. You couldn’t pay me enough to live there now. Can ya’ll holler “ROLL TIDE”. People down here seem to have so much more common sense.

  • sjbbouton

    Hey, your Honor- Seig Heil!

  • Norman F.

    My criteria for signs I hold on the town square is to keep it readable to passing traffic. On the square I have only one block for drivers and passengers to read my signs, so I keep them to three words; ABORTION KILLS CHILDREN and CONGRESS MUST GO. I have a longer one that gets me a better result from passing cars; GOVERNMENT IS THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE.

  • James

    Billboards alongside highways should be outlawed. They uneccessarily distract drivers’ attention and block views of scenery.

    • Mark-Edward

      This is the wrong time and place for that argument…

      The issue with this article is that a man is losing his liberty without having hurt anybody.

      • James

        The article says David Mongielo…had a sign that changed more often than the ten minute requirement of the law. True, he didn’t hurt anybody but he did violate the law, and if the billboard hadn’t been there, there would be no arrest and disagreement over it. The officer who clocked his sign might have had a faulty watch, or maybe he pushed the timing button too early because he didn’t like that sign, or the sign owner for some reason.


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