MAHOPAC, N.Y. - Councilman Mike Barile pleaded guilty to one count of disorderly conduct on Wednesday (Jan. 8), a violation, as a result of a confrontation between him and Journal News columnist David McKay Wilson at a Town Board meeting last September.
At the end of that meeting, Barile confronted Wilson, claiming the journalist had been photographing his daughter. Wilson had written a series of columns criticizing Barile for an alleged illegal sewer hookup at a restaurant property he owned on Route 6N, as well as how the councilman was handling the proposed park project at Swan Cove.
At that September meeting, Barile tossed an empty water bottle, hitting Wilson, and then got a hold of Wilson’s phone, went outside, and threw it into the street, breaking it.
Initially, Barile had been charged with fourth-degree grand larceny, a felony; fourth-degree criminal mischief, a misdemeanor; as well as second-degree harassment, a violation.
The felony charge of grand larceny and the misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief were dismissed, Barile’s lawyer, Joseph Tock, told Mahopac News.
“The disorderly conduct charge he pleaded guilty to is a violation, not a criminal conviction or offense,” Tock noted.
Tock said there is also a one-year conditional discharge (meaning if Barile stays out of trouble for a year the record will be sealed).
Barile was also ordered to pay $149 restitution to Wilson for the broken phone, which he did on Wednesday (Jan. 8).
The case was heard before Philipstown Town Judge Camille Linson with Putnam County District Attorney Robert Tendy prosecuting.
Barile offered an apology at the Jan. 8 board meeting.
“As an elected representative, I sincerely apologize to everyone in this community, to this board and previous board members, and especially to my family for embarrassing them,” he said. “But as a parent, I am still going to sit here and say that I apologize to nobody.”
In a statement released by Tock, the lawyer wrote, “Mr. Barile regrets his inappropriate conduct. It was an emotional response to the pattern of harassment he and his daughter have endured for the past year from a reporter who took photos of his daughter and used the First Amendment as a sledgehammer. He is pleased that his plea to a non-criminal violation puts this matter to a close. Mr. Barile is a devoted father, husband, businessman, and volunteer Town Board member.”