Canyon Inn owner Jim Stojack pled not guilty to a parking violation in Holladay Justice Court this afternoon, citing the charge as evidence of ongoing harassment by Cottonwood Heights PD. ---
Stojack's allegations of intimidation by Cottonwood Heights PD [CHPD] were featured in a City Weekly cover story in late April 2011 called 'In your face,' which explored the bar owner's claims that developers of a large piece of land behind his bar and local police were both seeking to shut him down.
Stojack says on the evening of June 30, 2011, his son parked his truck at the end of the driveway, blocking the sidewalk, because they were playing basketball in the drive of his Cottonwood Heights' home. Around 9.30 p.m., a CHPD officer cited Stojack for a parking violation.
According to a letter by Stojack neighbor, Dr Tom Barman, in support of the bar owner, a CHPD officer knocked at Barman's home and asked him to move his car, which was also blocked the sidewalk. Barman did as requested, then walked out to the cul-de-sac where he found two police cars parked. The officer told Barman, the doctor wrote in his August 1, 2011 letter, that he was giving him "the benefit of the doubt, while at the same time citing Stojack.
Barman then wrote, "While I am glad I did not get a ticket it greatly concerns me that the next display of favoritism may not be in my favor."
The 52 year-old physician noted in the letter that he was worried to "get involved on Jim's behalf for fear of retribution" from the CHPD. Such a fear, he noted, "is a reflection of a department which has a history of unequal enforcement of the law."
CHPD chief Robbie Russo said Stojack's citation was an ongoing police case. "We do not comment on that." He added he had instructed his staff to not speak to any City Weekly reporters.
Stojack is set to appear in court on the parking citation on October 24.