Business owner says councilman violated town’s social media policy

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PLEASANT VALLEY – A long-time town business owner has filed a complaint with the Town of Pleasant Valley alleging that Councilman Steven Latino, Esq. violated the town’s own “social media policy” and possibly exposed the town to a libel lawsuit.

Daniel McRitchie, the owner of the Pleasant Valley Agency, an insurance company that previously served as the town’s insurance agent for 35 years, claims that Latino has misled town residents and business owners by spreading false information about McRitchie on a Facebook page dedicated to town affairs.

The page, “Voices of the Valley” has several members, who discuss a variety of town affairs and events.

A recent post, according to McRitchie, revolved around the insurance policy for the town government.  In the post, Latino claimed that the Pleasant Valley Agency had cost the taxpayers a substantial sum of money for collecting premiums for buildings that should have been removed from the policy.  Latino said that the Pleasant Valley Agency “couldn’t be trusted” and that is why the town switched agents.  McRitchie asserts that he explained that his agency does not collect premiums for the policy; the checks go straight to the carrier, Selective Insurance.       He also noted that the town’s previous administrations did not ask for certain buildings to be removed from the policy. McRitchie said those statements negatively affected his reputation and business, even after making Selective aware and getting the town a reimbursement for the over-billed premiums.  Ironically, at the board meeting when the town switched insurance agents, Latino said that the switch was due to a gap in flood insurance for the town hall parcel.

McRitchie filed his complaint with the town clerk on November 1, asking for Supervisor Figliozzi to take disciplinary actions against Latino for the social media violation and also asked for a public retraction of the alleged false statements made by Latino.  “This is one more example of Latino lying.  Latino and the administration are habitual liars and the taxpayers deserve better,” said McRitchie. “If the statements aren’t retracted, my attorney will be forced to bring a libel lawsuit against Mr. Latino and the town.”

Neither Supervisor Figliozzi or Councilman Latino responded to phone calls, texts, or emails seeking comment.