In an incredibly bizarre even that unfolded in May of this year, NBC’s NewsChannel 13 reporter Mark Mulholland and his camera man Matt Soriano were threatened arrest and confiscation of their video by a corrections lieutenant. The interesting thing in the entire episode is the prison is empty, so the question comes up as to why there are corrections officers there in the first place.
Mulholland was on site at the historic Grant’s Cottage on Mount McGregor in Wilton, New York. He was doing a report on the cottage, where Ulysses S. Grant spent his final days, when out of nowhere, a corrections officers sped up behind Mulholland and steps out proceeding to tell him that he could not film on the mountain and specifically he could not film the empty prison facility.
Mulholland was not about to kowtow to the tyrannical corrections officer, who only identified himself as Lt. Dorne. An argument ensued regarding the rights to film and Dorne told Mulholland that he would have to “go through Albany” in order to film on the mountain. Check out the news report:
Mulholland made sure the entire incident was being filmed and proceeded to tell Dorne that he didn’t have to do that since it is a historic site and said they would go back there, but the belligerent officer continued to attempt to push his weight around saying that they couldn’t film.
After a few moments, Mulholland and Soriano got in the car as another officer drove up and Dorne is heard ordering the other officer to call the state police and have the news crew detained.
As the news team was making their way back to Grant’s Cottage, another corrections officer pulls his car in the middle of the road, blocking their entry. Though he was asked to move, he did not. Finally, another car was seeking to exit the historic sight and the officer pulled back, then drove extremely slow towards the cottage.
Upon leaving the mountain, the state police showed up and tried of confiscate the video that was taken.
“If I’m a member of the public and I’m taking pictures of Grant’s Cottage and there’s the facility right behind it, what would you do with it?” Mulholland asked.
He was then told that is the police knew it was in the background they would confiscate the pictures.
Not only did Mulholland leave with the video and subsequent video of the unlawful acts of these men, but he got a really big story.
“In more than 20 years in the business, I’ve rarely encountered anything quite like this,” Mulholland said.
In fact, several questions arise in this entire matter. Why were these officers so adamant that Mulholland could not film, even though there was a film crew at the prison facility, which you can see in the video? Why would they claim that someone had to “go through Albany” in order to take pictures or film on a historic sight? Furthermore, why in the world are 76 employees needed at a prison that has zero occupants?
Mt McGregor prison from Rt 9 in Wilton. DOCCS won't allow pics of facility where there are 0 inmates, 76 employees. pic.twitter.com/y4dP8IXUPV
— Mark Mulholland (@MulhollandWNYT) May 2, 2014
Many of the 322 people who had worked at the prison, including correctional officers, have been or are being transferred to other facilities: About 120 are headed to jobs at Comstock in Washington County, about 30 miles away; 29 have transferred to Greene Correctional Facility in Coxsackie, Greene County, about 65 miles south, according to state data.
The Times Union also reported, “State officials said the station had earlier been denied permission to shoot video on the prison grounds for what officials said were “security reasons.” They also cited prison policy.”
So prison policy would keep a news outlet from filming the facility, yet they were allowing another film crew on the same prison grounds the same day? As you would imagine, State officials would not provide any details as to what that production company’s filming was about.
Is there more to this story than meets the eye? My guess is that is probably the case, but what? Some have suggested this is a FEMA camp. It wasn’t contained in a national list. However, that could be.
Our calls to the New York State Department of Corrections have gone unreturned. Sons of Liberty Media did contact the State Police Department where there was not a Sargent on duty to answer questions. However, the officer that answered indicated to us that the facility was in the process of transferring inmates and had been doing so.
Sadly, even the Saratoga County Sheriff’s office was unable to give a statement as to whether or not the facility, which resides in their county, is even operational or not.
Yet, according to the Department of Corrections own website, as of December 2011, the reference to the Mount McGregor as a correctional camp and an inmate program has been removed because both “no longer operate at Mount McGregor Correctional Facility.
Seems a bit strange to remove the reference of a “correctional camp,” but keep referencing it as a “correctional facility,” don’t you think?