Yes, it's a bit creepy that Jefferson County Commissioner Jim Congrove hired his buddy, ex-cop-turned-private-dick Daril Cinquanta, to follow around gadfly Mike Zinna. Creepier still that Congrove got the county to pay more than $7,000 for Cinquanta's surveillance services, slipping the request past his sleepy-headed fellow commissioners on the grounds that this was a necessary expense connected with county legal matters.
But none of that is half as weird as Adams County District Attorney Don Quick's investigation of the matter. Released last week, Quick's report is a master stroke of indecision, concluding that there's no way to not prove that the investigation wasn't of some kind of benefit to the county, and therefore, no charges are warranted.
Not so quick, Quick.
Zinna is engaged in long-running legal battles against the county and Congrove in particular, as detailed here. One could argue that gathering a little dirt on the county's chief nemesis makes for good legal strategy — even though past leaks of such info, and the disappearance of thousands of pages of legal documents connected with the case, have sparked even more inquiries. But how anyone could conclude that the kind of trivial yet privacy-invading stuff Cinquanta was dredging up is of any possible use to county taxpayers defies all logic.
As documents released with Quick's report show, much of the PI's crack work involved filming Zinna as he delivered public comments at public meetings. But he also spied on Zinna's attorney and speculated that the man was living in his father's basement. Pretty scandalous stuff.
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But wait. There's more. Two of Cinquanta's operatives followed Zinna for a wallet-draining twelve hours one day in the summer of 2006. During that time he went to a motorcycle dealership with a blonde female and Fonzi, his German shepherd. Subject and unidentified female test-drove a yellow Ducati. "Photos were taken," presumably to demonstrate that Zinna has good taste in the kind of vehicles he chooses to test-drive.
Zinna ate lunch alone, leaving Fonzi in the car. (It was a hot day, the operative notes, as if to suggest an animal-abuse investigation should be initiated.) Then (gasp) he took Fonzi to the park and played with him…FOR TWENTY MINUTES! "Photos were taken," presumably to demonstrate that Zinna is a fiend.
Later that afternoon, Zinna was observed looking at other motorcycles. He kissed the blonde. "Photos were taken." The blonde was tailed back to a different residence.
The horror, Jeffco. –- Alan Prendergast