A congressional candidate normally wouldn't tip the press off about their own criminal trial, but that's exactly what Michael Kicinski did. He is locked in a long-term squabble with his village about his chickens. The dispute is headed to court this week. YNN's Andrew Sorensen explains what the flap is all about.
EARLVILLE, N.Y. -- If chickens could fly, congressional candidate Michael Kicinski's would technically be flying in the face of the law.
"I've been charged with this violation for five-and-a-half years and now they serve me with a search warrant to find out if I really do have chickens," Kicinski said.
But to him, they're a symbol of freedom. He says he moved to Earlville in the mid-2000s, understanding his chicken raising was lawful. The village even agreed to let him have more.
"Then shortly after that, what I feel are personal attacks started happening," he said.
Kicinski is headed to court this week to face charges for it all. Kicinski claims the village came after him for posting his own board meeting minutes on the internet. Mayor William Excell claims it wasn't personal, but because Kicinski broke their agreement.
"If you won't tell us how many chickens you have, we're going to make it that you can't have any chickens," Excell explained.
They passed that law six years ago and warned Kicinski several times.
"We've had complaints from his neighbor about the smell, rats," said Excell.
Kicinski denies all of that and claims he should be grandfathered in. So they tried negotiating.
"And he wouldn't go along with it, the attorneys came to an agreement, what this has been like for me, it's been a nightmare," Excell said.
They've taken him to court multiple times. So why does he still have chickens? He said it's the principle.
"We must stand up to the out of control government," Kicinski said.
Kicinski made a website chronicling their efforts to banish the birds EarlvilleChickens.com. It's filled with chicken-themed cartoons and nuggets about freedom and liberty.
"We must stand up for all of our freedoms. Where one is under attack, if we don't stand up for it, what's next?" Kicinski asked.
He said it's his job as a TEA Party Patriot to hold them accountable.
If Kicinski is convicted, it's unclear what his sentence would be, but the local law allows for hundreds of dollars in fines and possibly a month in jail.