Hypothetical Question: If Somebody Locked You In Their Office Against Your Will, What Would You Do?

I’m pretty much obsessed with this story about a local contractor accusing Southampton Town Councilman Jim Malone for locking him inside of his Suffolk County office after an argument over unpaid work.

According to the New York Post, the accuser is Anthony Prosano, who is 23 years old and runs his own contracting business. Prosano said that he went to Mr. Malone’s office in Riverside, where he works as a deputy county clerk, and confronted him because he was owed thousands of dollars for unpaid contracting work. The confrontation was captured on an iPhone voice recorder, and Mr. Malone called police in order to have Mr. Prosano arrested for breaking and entering into his home. Mr. Prosano admitted that he went into Mr. Malone’s home to recover tools he had left there after Mr. Malone did not meet him at his home.

The confrontation leads to Mr. Malone’s locking Mr. Prosano inside his office and stating that he has the authority to do that because he is a deputy county clerk. Mr. Malone then called the police to have Mr. Prosano arrested for breaking and entering into his home.


I’m speechless. If somebody locked me in his office and said he had the authority to do that, I don’t even want to think about what I’d do about it. I’d imagine it is downright illegal—I believe it’s called unlawful imprisonment. And it is, just in general, a really screwed up thing to do to somebody.

By far, this is the part of the story that I just can’t believe and, if it is all true, I believe there could be fairly large consequences.

All anyone in such a situation has to do is call the police and make the accusation WITHOUT locking him in your office.

I’ve thought about this from both sides. On the one hand, you have a guy who wants his money for doing work on a home, and on the other you have a guy who isn’t paying because: A) he doesn’t think the job was done very well, or B) he just doesn’t feel like paying. I’m giving the benefit of the doubt here and am going to go with A.

Regardless, locking someone in a room is a a big mistake,  as is saying to someone, such as Mr. Prosano, who tells you that you cannot hold him against his will—and this is clear as day on the aforementioned voice recording—“Yes, I can. I’m a deputy county clerk, and I’m holding you.”

Wow. All I can say is wow. Here is more from the Post that stunned me as well.

“I’m a young guy in this business,” Prosano said. “This was my first big job, and I really trusted this guy. But he basically wanted me to do the job so he could get it for free. He figured I couldn’t do anything about it.”

Prosano, who said he has filed a lien and a police report against Malone, said that the councilman suddenly threw him off the job shortly after Thanksgiving, locked away his tools and ignored all requests for payment.

“I had already done about $10,000 worth of work,” Prosano said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”


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