Local News

March 28, 2009

Peru town supervisor arrested again

[-BULLET-] 7 new charges filed against Peru supervisor

PERU — Peru Town Supervisor Donald Covel has been arrested again on a slew of official-misconduct charges.

The 61-year-old was first arrested last fall, accused of abusing his powers of office and obstructing governmental administration.

Covel denied the allegations in court and the three misdemeanor official-misconduct charges were later dismissed.

Facing a lone obstruction charge, Covel later rejected a plea deal and decided to take the misdemeanor case to trial.

At the time of the plea offer, which consisted of a fine, Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie said he planned to present the case to another grand jury to see whether additional charges were warranted.

This week, Covel was arrested on seven new official-misconduct charges and another misdemeanor obstruction charge.

Reached on Saturday, Wylie said the charges stem from the original case and were the result of another indictment.

All the charges were lodged in connection with an alleged building-code scheme.

Covel is accused of firing the code-enforcement officer without authorization in early 2008 and then approving a building permit that was submitted by his wife, Linda, for Frosty Springs Bottling Co.

The Covels operated the business until it burned down in 2007 and were in the process of rebuilding when the alleged firing and permit approval happened.

Mrs. Covel was also charged in the case, accused of filing the application knowing it contained false information, but the charges against her were later dismissed.

In the past, Covel said the firing had to do with concerns he had with the code officer's work, though he never specified what those concerns were.

The enforcement officer was later reinstated.

Covel, who remains in office, has refused to publicly comment on the case and was released from custody after his Friday afternoon arrest.

He was expected to go on trial April 13, but Wylie said the new indictment will likely delay the trial.

Covel has been in office for about three years and is being represented by attorney Mark Cowen.

E-mail Andrea VanValkenburg at:

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