Palisade officials in saloon spat

No charges due after war of words

Palisade police said Friday they will not pursue criminal charges against anyone in connection with a recent confrontation at a town bar that involved the mayor, the mayor pro tem and a man running for the town board.

Police, however, still are investigating an allegation that the owner of the bar later posted a message on Facebook threatening the mayor.

The incident occurred the night of Feb. 26 at The Livery Saloon, 215 Main St.

Mayor Dave Walker said he, his wife and Mayor Pro Tem Mario Coringrato had gone to the bar that evening and ran into a group of five or six people that included Wayne Reid, a town resident running for the board.

Walker said they shook hands with people in the group, ordered drinks and began playing pool. At some point, he said, Reid and others in the group got into an argument with Coringrato about a variety of town issues, including the new pedestrian plaza and the planned reconstruction of Kluge Avenue.

Walker said the group surrounded Coringrato, so at that point he walked over and tried to defuse the situation. When he did, he claims someone in the group pulled an imaginary gun out of its holster, pointed his finger at Walker and acted like he was repeatedly shooting him.

Walker said his wife pulled him away from the group, and he, his wife and Coringrato left, with Walker dialing 911. On their way out, Walker said he asked a female bartender if the owner or manager was on site to offer assistance. The woman said she was the only one there, Walker said.

“I said something like, ‘That’s crazy. We should close this place down,’ ” Walker said.

Several people, including Reid, reportedly took offense at Walker’s words, saying they constituted an abuse of power.

Palisade Police Chief Carroll Quarles said officers responded to the bar and conducted multiple interviews. He said there were conflicting reports about a shoving match, but he ultimately decided not to make any arrests.

“We’ve talked about it. There’s not going to be any charges,” Quarles said.

The chief said, however, that he is looking into claims that Livery owner John VanLandingham threatened to assault Walker via a posting on Facebook. Quarles said the message has since been deleted.

VanLandingham’s mother, Rita, said Friday her son didn’t want to comment on the incident at the bar. She denied the allegations about the threat.

“That is not true,” she said. “There is no threat. He doesn’t even know the mayor.”

Several calls to Reid’s home Friday afternoon and evening went unanswered.

The dustup at the bar comes about a month before Palisade’s April 6 municipal election. The seats of three trustees, including Coringrato, are up for election.

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