Explosive verbal argument between Saratoga Springs city leaders caught on camera

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Expletives flew during a very intense face-to-face conversation on Thursday between Saratoga Springs city leaders – including the mayor.

The shocking body camera video was put on Facebook Friday evening by the Saratoga Springs Police Department.

The video involves Mayor Ron Kim, Public Safety Commissioner James Montagnino and Deputy Public Safety Commissioner Jason Tetu.

The first word you hear in the video is an expletive from Kim.

The fiery tirade happened Thursday at Saratoga Springs City Hall, said police.

The incident garnered attention outside City Hall and police decided to release the video to “meet the goals of transparency and accountability that the community has asked of them.”

Meantime, Kim said this all started after an email he received on Monday. He says he considers the email to be a threat to his personal safety.

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The mayor sent this letter to all city employees:

Dear City Employees,

I’d like to acknowledge and apologize for my actions yesterday, May 4th, 2023, in response to perceived threats made against me and my family.

On May 1st, 2023, I received a threatening email from a person well known to the Saratoga Springs Department of Public Safety. I was deeply concerned because this individual has previously threatened public officials and has the demonstrated means to cause grievous bodily harm. This individual frequently attends our open City Council meetings and has publicly disagreed with my positions and policies. In addition to this email, shortly afterward a member of my family received calls from a blocked number that were alarming.

On May 1st, 2023 I forwarded the threatening email to Commissioner Montagnino, his Deputy Jason Tetu, and Chief of Police Shane Crooks with the following cover, “Please see email below. This is a veiled threat to my personal safety by an individual who I know to have made these threats to past members of the City Council.” Neither Commissioner Montagnino nor Deputy Tetu responded or contacted me to discuss my email. The only response I received was from Chief Crooks who stated, “If you would like to make an official complaint, please come down to the police department window and we will assign [an] officer to assist you in filing a report.”

On May 4th, 2023, I went to the SSPD window as directed where the responding officer confirmed the author of the threatening email was well-known to SSPD. Feeling frustrated that the Commissioner of Public Safety had never responded to my initial request on May 1st, and concerned about the fact that someone clearly had one of my family member’s personal phone numbers, I went to the Commissioner of Public Safety’s office and knocked aggressively and raised my voice to Commissioner Montagnino and Deputy Tetu.

I want to apologize to all city employees and city residents for my conduct. When I accepted the privilege of being the Mayor of Saratoga Springs, I assumed there would be challenges to overcome—I never assumed that I would have to fear for the safety of my family.

I regret my behavior and sincerely apologize.

Ron Kim

Public Safety Commissioner Jim Montagnino sent NewsChannel 13 this statement:

“Mayor Kim allowed hours of curses and threats against me, then goes crazy when someone emails, ‘Just resign. It will be better for you in the end.’ Somehow that, including hangup calls his son got in NYC, equals a threat on his and his family’s lives that justifies police intervention, while my seeking charges against individuals who shut down public meetings is ‘overreach.’”