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The Rack N' Roll Conspiracy

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It's diabolical! It's confusing! It's the Rack N' Roll Conspiracy and Radley Balko has created an entire category for it.

This is the story of David Ruttenberg, the totally law-abiding owner of Rack N' Roll billiards in Manassas, Virginia, who for years now has been targeted in repeated and fruitless attempts to link his business to drug activity. His livelihood is now almost completely destroyed and most of the cops and public officials in Manassas seem to be in on it. Motivated by an apparent desire to build an off-track betting facility on the property, Manassas police and others have spared no expense in this otherwise inexplicable series of bizarre events.

My favorite part is when Ruttenberg tries to explain his plight to a local news reporter at 1:00 in the morning and the Mayor suddenly jumps out of the bushes and tells the reporter not to trust to him.

Balko's research illustrates the ease with which ambiguous allegations of drug activity can be used by politicians as leverage against their enemies. Still, I suspect that the only thing unique about this story is the fact that someone as meticulous as Balko took an interest in it. His work on the Cory Maye case similarly illustrates the improbability of severe police corruption coming to light absent the involvement of a politically savvy blogger from Washington, D.C.

When business owners can be held liable for activities they had no knowledge of, it becomes painfully easy for corrupt officials with ulterior motives to capitalize on malfeasance.

If you were trying to screw over a business owner, how would you do it? Think about how easy it is to frame someone for drugs. Think about it, then ask yourself how often it happens.

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How often?

All I can say is that if you are a business owner, regardless of the business, join your local chamber of commerce (or several) and get out there and network network network. Not only will it help your business grow, but you'll have a large group of positive relationships with important people in the local community. Many town councils are made up of former government officials with little or no business experience and lots of backing from unions, developers and monopoly service providers (water, garbage, energy, etc.) They care little about the small business owner without resources, but they won't easily go up against someone who has the favor of the chamber.

Think about it - if you have many good acquaintances with other local business owners and this stunt is pulled on you, what can you do? That's right - invite those new found friends over to your bar for drinks and food. Throw a casual business party that highlights the good things about your business and shows that the council is all wrong about you.

Just my $.02

more than you might think

i've lived in a rural/ag community in CA most of my life & there is still that case where a sm business owner (who was a beacon in the community, I knew her myself) w/ a store on main st, was murdered while at work(pop of town is less than 7,500) still unsolved - almost 7yrs now. all they've stated is they believe the murderer knew her???? huh?
another case where w/ over 15 witnesses at the only city park in this same sm town watched as two women were fist fighting & a when a police officer showed up - seeing one fem grab a small pocket knife, dropped kicked her in the back & caused her spine to break & paralysed her for life. the cop was never reprimanded & found guilty of nothing. i want to add the police officer in question has since retired and is 6'6" & weighs roughly 240#'s. everyone of the witnesses stated that the police officer used extreme force & uncalled for, in thier opinion. yet still, he is receiving a retirement pckage that I helped pay for as a taxpayer in that community.
these things do happen. i think we still have a giant "good ol' boy" network in this country and where it suits them, nothing gets in the way - whatever may be the cost they do not care because we pay it. i hope Ruttenburg can stay strong & a big thanks to Scottt for cont.'d good reporting & keep us updated w/ Ruttenburg.

Thank you.

I appreciate that you cared enough to say that. Don't worry, I will stay strong. I gotta tell ya though, I wouldn't make it without my friends and customers (that know the truth), and especially my Mom and Dad, who stick by my side no matter how bad this horror show gets.

David Ruttenberg

Thank God (or Al Gore) for the internet.

'good ol' boy network...

from the east coast, small town corruptness is also a 'perk ' for those unfortunate to live in low population communities.

there are documented 'get away with murder' incidents within the county which i reside, along side a 20 yr old, represented by public defenders, who was incarcerated for a gram of base and is still sitting after 180 days with no charge???

keeping it unreal

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