HAZLETON, Pa. -- Earlier this year, Mayor Jeff Cusat contacted a freelancer from outside the state to build mini toy models of the Hazleton Police cruisers. But now legal threats are being made by Cusat for incompletion of the task.
Lee Woods, of Washington D.C., is a freelance toy-maker.
In January of this year, Cusat signed a contract with Woods and paid him precisely $2,200 to make 100 die cast 1/24 scale police vehicle models of the Hazleton Police cruisers.
Woods argues that he wasn't able to meet Cusat's deadline because he wasn't sent the correct pictures of the Hazleton Police cruiser's new markings.
Woods says that in order for him to have had the decals made, he needed specific angle shots of the actual police cruisers from Cusat; and according to Woods, he's been telling the Mayor this for months but had no luck with getting them photos.
The only photos that Cusat did send Woods, almost no decal artists would work with.
"I have to have artwork done in a vector format and you really can't do that with the photos that were sent to me," Woods told the Hazleton Headlines.
But last month, Woods was finally able to find a vector artist who'd work with what Cusat sent him.
Now recently, Woods has been threatened with criminal prosecution by Cusat's lawyer, Donald G. Karpowich, Esquire, the consultant for the Mayor's non profit Hazleton Revitalization Fund.
Originally, Cusat's lawyer told Woods that if all 100 car models aren't delivered by August 1st, he'd turn it over the police.
But now Cusat's lawyer is telling Woods to cease building the toy car models and just refund Cusat the monies paid to him in January.
"His lawyer seems to think I just have $2200 laying around when I live on an SSI check of $735. I only do this work as a way for me to offset my bills," Woods said.
On Friday, Cusat's lawyer spoke to Woods on the phone and told him that Hazleton's Police Chief, Jerry Speziale would come and arrest him at his home in the nation's capital of Washington D.C., and transport him to Pennsylvania to face a judge.
"When I told him you can't remove someone across state lines without an extradition hearing he said I didn't know the law but that he does. The mayor was present when he told me this," Woods said.
The Hazleton Headlines has reached out to Cusat for comment, but the Mayor has yet to return any of our phone calls.