Niagara Gazette

Local News

March 25, 2008

CRIME: Gary Parenti faces impaired driving and other charges

Former Assembly candidate’s arraignment set for today

At 2 a.m. Sunday morning, Gary Parenti looked at a Falls police officer and said simply, “My career is over.”

The former state Assembly candidate and well-known Democratic party operative, who has recently been working on the presidential campaign of Hillary Rodham Clinton, was under arrest on charges of driving while ability impaired by alcohol, third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and running a red light.

Roving Anti-Crime Unit officers said Parenti drove his Ford Explorer through a red light at 19th Street and Pine Avenue, honking his horn as he drove through the intersection. When officers pulled him over at 19th and Falls streets, Parenti had a known gang member and drug user in his passenger seat, smelled of alcohol, had glassy eyes and slurred speech.

Parenti, 42, 955 Harrison Ave., told cops he had four beers before driving, though he later claimed to have had six glasses of wine. Officers had both Parenti and his passenger, identified as David Allen Glenn, step out of the SUV.

While Glenn was questioned, Parenti was asked to perform several field sobriety tests. Police said Parenti passed an alphabet test, but failed finger to nose and walk and turn tests.

When he was asked to perform a one leg stand test officers said Parenti “gave up” and said, “I can’t do these tests. Do what you have to do.”

Glenn told police he was in the car with Parenti because the prominent politician had paid him $2 in change to “find some hookers.” The area of 19th Street, between Niagara and Falls streets, where Parenti’s vehicle was stopped, is known to be frequented by prostitutes.

A call to Parenti, seeking comment on his arrest and Glenn’s claim, was not returned.

After being taken into custody, Parenti asked for a lawyer and called former Erie County Democratic Party Chairman Steve Pigeon. Parenti is a former top aide to Pigeon.

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