MAHOPAC, N.Y. - Erin Meagher, the former CEO/executive director of the Greater Mahopac/Carmel Chamber of Commerce, pleaded guilty to reduced charges in Carmel Town Court Tuesday evening, May 23, admitting in an allocution statement that she used a Chamber debit card for unauthorized personnel purchases that amounted to nearly $3,000.
Meagher, 26, who was fired from her position with the Chamber when she was arrested on March 21, was originally charged with felony fourth-degree grand larceny. Initially, she claimed the charges were part of a smear tactic perpetrated upon her because of her political affiliation and her youth. However, appearing with her attorney, Kevin Reverri, before Carmel Town Justice Thomas Jacobellis, she admitted to the crime in exchange for a guilty plea to a charge of misdemeanor petit larceny.
Meagher told the court that between March and October of 2016, she used the Chamber’s debit card to make personal purchases.
As part of the plea deal, Meagher must complete 100 hours of community service though the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department’s Alternative to Incarceration Program and make restitution in the amount of $2,809.98. She must fulfill the obligations of the plea within the year and stay out of trouble during that period or the terms of the agreement could be voided and the original charges restored.
Because Reverri is a member of the Chamber of Commerce, Meagher also had to agree that his membership did not present a conflict of interest and could not be used in the future for any type of appeal or motion to reopen the case.
Meagher must also withdraw any unemployment claims made as a result of her termination.
Meagher is a Brewster resident where she serves as a trustee on the Brewster Village Board. On Wednesday, May 24, the board asked for her to resign from her post. In a prepared statement, the board wrote: " Based on her admission of guilt in the Carmel Town Court to the misdemeanor of petit larceny in relation to abusing her position as CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, and thereby breaching the trust and confidence to which the public is entitled with respect to its elected officials, we ask for the immediate resignation of Erin Meagher from her position of village trustee." The statement was signed by Brewster Mayor James Schoenig, Deputy Mayor Christine Piccini, and trustees Tom Boissonnault and Mary Bryde.
But in a statement to Brewster's HamletHub website, Meagher said she had no intention of resigning from the board.
"I am not resigning, as noted in my allocation in Carmel Town Court there was no act of moral turpitude," she said in the statement. "I acknowledge my own fault and mistake and have no desire to hurt the Chamber and community I worked so hard to build up."
Meagher said in the statement that Chamber officials would have been better off resolving the issue with her privately, rather than having her arrested.
"It is a shame the Chamber attorney and certain members, rather than addressing mistakes, worked in secret to prosecute me rather than sit down and resolve the issues," she wrote. "I saw them for months, they told me I was doing a great job and don't change a thing. They worked with me till 10 p.m., Monday (March 20), and fired me Tuesday morning (March 21), arrested that afternoon. I certainly did wrong, but when you look at the money and time spent, the public statements made, there is more to it than correcting my transgressions. All of this could have been resolved in a civil manner [and avoided] costly trial fees and further embarrassment of all parties."
Joe Tock, the attorney for the Chamber of Commerce, said he and Chamber executives were satisfied with the plea deal.
“Her admission of guilt clearly validates the evidence uncovered by the executive board,” he said. "It is a fair result. It’s time to close the chapter and move forward.”
Tock also thanked the district attorney's office and ADA Larry Glasser in particular for they way they handled the case.
As of this writing, Meagher, remains vice president of the Putnam County Industrial Development Agency.