Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

May 16, 2008

Editorial: Trouble in Benzie County? Call Tony

Lead-footed Benzie County drivers rejoice. You have a friend in high places.

No more worries if a state trooper or deputy writes you up for doing 70 mph on U.S. 31.

No more anxiety about costly tickets and higher insurance costs for hot-footing it down M-115.

You got a little problem with the law? Just give Benzie County Prosecutor Anthony "Tony The Fixer" Cicchelli a call, then fuhgeddaboudit!

Tony the Fixer, Benzie's prosecutor since 1996, indeed is the man for all your ticket-fixing needs. Just check the record: In 2002, The Fixer tried to whack a friend's traffic ticket, then lied about it to a magistrate and subsequently to state police who questioned him about the incident.

Sure, he was jammed up a bit -- a state Attorney Discipline Board ruled Cicchelli committed professional misconduct. He pleaded no contest to making "negligently inaccurate statements," prompting a trip to the lawyer's woodshed for a "professional enhancement workshop" and 40 hours of community service.

But hey, shake it off. What good is public office if a fella can't use it to help family and friends?

Which brings us to The Fixer's most recent brainstorm. In March, a state trooper nabbed The Fixer's stepson, Larry Marshall Hoffman, 21, as he zoomed along U.S. 31.

Hoffman was doing 71, according to notes on the ticket, but the trooper wrote him up for 60, a perhaps benevolent gesture, since Hoffman already had three recent traffic tickets to his credit, as well as a warning letter from the secretary of state's office.

Now, most drivers likely would have fretted over a pricey ticket and higher car insurance rates, but not Hoffman, not after The Fixer scribbled a note on prosecutor's office letterhead and ordered Magistrate Hope Cicansky to make the ticket sleep with the fishes.

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