HONESDALE — A councilman in Honesdale is not hiding the fact that he supports a fellow councilman charged with theft, accused of taking money from a customer for work that was never done.
And now there are questions whether that councilman crossed the line when he talked with the alleged victim.
On Tuesday, he was in court on those theft charges. With him were two other council members, including the president.
Now the question is did the president of council go too far in trying to get his friend and fellow councilman off the hook.
Harry DeVrieze left district court in Hawley quiet about the theft case against him.
Troopers say he was paid $4,500 dollars in 2011 but never did the work he promised.
John Robinson says he paid DeVrieze to install countertops at his home in Honesdale.
“It was a song and dance for two years. Finally I filed civil suit and won judgment against him,” Robinson said.
DeVrieze still didn’t pay up so Robinson went to police and troopers filed charges in June.
About one week later, Robinson says he got a check for the full amount from DeVrieze’s attorney.
But that wasn’t all he got.
“Two or three times now, I’ve got calls from the borough council asking me to drop the charges.”
More specifically, it was the president of Honesdale borough council James Brennan who contacted the alleged victim in a theft case.
“Made one phone call to explain to him he’s a good councilman, doing a good job in council, and if he’d be interested in writing a letter on his behalf,” said Brennan.
“He wanted me to write a letter and say Harry paid me back and I didn’t care and all this,” said Robinson.
Harry DeVrieze had been a member of borough council until last election, when he lost. There were a couple of resignations and he was reappointed. Then came theft charges from state police and if he’s convicted or pleads to felony, he can’t stay in office any longer.
“Because he’s a friend of mine, I don’t want to see him convicted of a crime,” Brennan said.
“I don’t think it’s any of their business. It’s between the court and Mr. DeVrieze now,” Robinson said.
As for whether what council president James Brennan did was legal, prosecutors say the matter is being referred to the proper authorities
DeVrieze also faces a new a charge of home improvement fraud after Tuesday’s court appearance. He’s still a member of Honesdale borough council.