Tourism Board Chair Charged with $10 Theft (Updated)

Allegedly stole newspapers from bundles outside coffee shop

By Liz Schevtchuk Armstrong

Barney Molloy, a board member of the Cold Spring Area Chamber of Commerce and board chair of the Putnam County Visitors’ Bureau, pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor theft on Jan. 25 after allegations he took copies of The New York Times from bundles delivered to Cupoccino Café, a Cold Spring coffee shop.

Barney Molloy (file photo)

Molloy, a former mayoral candidate, appeared in Cold Spring Justice Court before Judge Thomas Costello. He is scheduled to return to court on Feb. 8.

The accusation was brought by Officer Thomas Ciero of the Cold Spring Police Department. In a signed statement, Ciero said that about 6 a.m. on each of four weekdays – Nov. 18, Nov. 21, Nov. 29 and Dec. 12 – Molloy “untied the bundle of New York Times newspapers delivered to the business, removed one” on each occasion “and placed it in his tote bag, all prior to the business being open.”

The officer put the value of the four papers at $10, saying the alleged offense amounted to petit larceny.

Molloy, who ran for Cold Spring mayor in 2015 and for trustee in 2016, works for Legislator John Testa, the Republican minority leader of the Westchester County Board of Legislators. He did not respond to an email seeking comment. Jessica Arguello, Cupoccino’s proprietor, declined comment.

February 9

Molloy formally pleaded not guilty on Feb. 8 to accusations he stole newspapers from outside Cupoccino Café. Judge Costello adjourned the case until March 8.

Molloy said after the arraignment that he had no comment but on Jan. 30 told the Putnam County News and Recorder that he was a regular customer who settled his account every few days. “I was never made aware of any issue with the papers,” he was quoted as saying.

12 thoughts on “Tourism Board Chair Charged with $10 Theft (Updated)

  1. We may well find out that he returned on the weekends and paid for the papers, or had a prior arrangement with the owner. Innocent until proven guilty is the best policy.

  2. I can understand it if he went back and paid for the newspapers, but to actually take them without ever paying Jessica and John for them is, well it’s theft and he should be punished. If he is found guilty, he should be made to step down from the Tourism Board and the Chamber of Commerce.

    • Excellent point. Well made. However, in my opinion, he should step down anyway based on the way he has treated Cold Spring during his tenure. If Molloy is going to consider having a political career in Cold Spring/Philipstown, he really needs to respond to this story and others that have appeared in the press.

  3. We will only know the full set of facts when Mr. Molloy gets his day in court. Until then the man should be considered innocent, and to speculate otherwise is just plain unfair.

  4. What a treat — we get not one but two stories today about the elusive Barney Molloy (see Mike Turton’s piece on the new Chamber director). I don’t know if there’s a dearth of news in Cold Spring/Philipstown or if Molloy’s alleged behavior is attracting more attention these days. There are ways you can read the entire New York Times for free online.

    As was mentioned in this article, Molloy is chairman of the board of the Putnam County Visitors’ Bureau. Sounds pretty impressive, no? And you’d think (as I foolishly did for awhile) that maybe such an august personage, an actual resident of Cold Spring would use that position to do something to help promote tourism in our Village, especially since Cold Spring is undoubtedly the biggest (and only) real tourism attraction in this county.

    Instead, for reasons that are known only to him, Molloy has used his position to cut off funding for Cold Spring tourism. This includes the money that we were supposed to get in the last quarter of 2016 for our brochures and radio ads for the holidays. When you consider how much the merchants of Main Street contribute to the county coffers in terms of sales tax and other revenue, the amount that we have been given back is a mere pittance.

    But even that was too much for Molloy, who apparently instructed the interim tourism director, Frank Smith, to shut down all of the Cold Spring promotions shortly after he took over the new board. Not only that, but neither Molloy nor Smith has responded to numerous emails and phone calls from me trying to find out just what is going on with this taxpayer-funded agency that is now in lockdown mode.

    If some legislator or other public officer in authority wants to go after Molloy, how about looking into what he’s doing with our tourism tax money instead of trying to embarrass him with this newspaper caper? As they say, there are bigger fish to fry.

  5. It is despicable to attack, demean and otherwise engage into the virtual reality lynching of anyone before the court has its say. The hostile comments here are very disturbing and leave me yearning for the warmth and affection of the spring days, the days that make us all are more kind toward each other. Or so I’d like to believe.

    • I seriously doubt that the editor of The Current would ever allow false or libelous comments to appear in the forums. Please read the statement at the beginning of this reply that describes what the terms of use are in order for a comment to pass muster.

      They are reviewed by the moderator and must have a “civil” tone. As someone who has posted here innumerable times and had some of my posts edited, I can tell you that the publisher’s definition of “civil” does not allow any name calling, public lynching or in some cases, even a disparaging remark against a public figure such as Mr. Molloy. In fact, I was surprised at some of the sentences that were removed from my original post because I thought they were pretty innocuous; obviously the editor did not see it that way, and they were cut.

      There’s an old saying to the effect that we can never know too much about the lives of those who control the purse strings. This is especially true for unelected officials who in some cases have more power than those who serve at the will of the people.

  6. Mr. Molloy will get his day in court and he deserves the benefit of the doubt until then. But let’s remember that Jess and John at Cuppuccino deserve the benefit of the doubt here, as well. They are lovely people and members of our community who are running a business here. I am certain they would not have proceeded without serious consideration. Further, I would doubt that they nor the police routinely monitor off-hours porch deliveries for theft. So it seems likely that the four incidents alleged here were at the tail end of a longer look into/concern around this type of theft. Possibly the gathering of what was needed to get it to this point? But none of us here really know, so both sides deserve our respect until all the facts are known.

  7. There have been a few times when I have asked the Cold Spring police for assistance and they flat out refused to help me, but yet someone allegedly stole newspapers and gets arrested. I shake my head in disbelief.