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Bat man has no political drive in Rain lawsuit

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OGDENSBURG — The Onondaga County man suing St. Lawrence County district attorney candidate Mary E. Rain for more than $1,600 for bat removal said his plight isn’t politically charged.

Al’s Critter Solutions owner Albert J. LaFrance said that since he filed his lawsuit against Ms. Rain for work he claims she authorized him to perform, he has been accused of having ties to St. Lawrence County District Attorney Nicole M. Duvé and that his lawsuit is politically driven.

“I don’t vote here. I don’t have any political interest in Ms. Rain or the current district attorney,” Mr. LaFrance said outside city hall, adding that he doesn’t even know Ms. Duvé.

Mr. LaFrance is alleging that Ms. Rain gave him approval over the phone to remove between six and 12 bats and seal entranceways from them at her 441 Broadway Ave. E. rental property in Watertown. The bill totaled $1,890.

Additionally, Mr. LaFrance said he has been accused of trying to extort money from Ms. Rain through the suit.

“If you knew that someone is a judge or an attorney, are you going to single them out to scam?” Mr. LaFrance asked. “She identified herself as an attorney right off.”

Ms. Rain paid $300 of that bill, and when Mr. LaFrance didn’t receive the remaining $1,590, he filed the suit under the advice of his attorney, Maureen A. Perrin of Lafayette, who was not present in court Friday.

Ms. Rain said she never gave approval for the work and that she hadn’t completed estimates with other companies before deciding who to hire.

“Most of the estimates were under $1,000,” Ms. Rain said. “He completed the work without my OK.”

As a result of Mr. LaFrance appearing without counsel, no settlement was able to be reached.

Mr. LaFrance told Ogdensburg City Court Judge A. Michael Gebo that he couldn’t afford to have Ms. Perrin represent him and that he would be representing himself.

In order to move forward, Judge Gebo told Mr. LaFrance that Ms. Perrin would have to notify the court, in writing, that she would no longer be representing him. That would allow both the judge and Ms. Rain, who is representing herself in the matter, to have a dialogue with Mr. LaFrance.

Judge Gebo adjourned the case and said he would set a trial date for an undetermined time in October or November.

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