MAHOPAC, N.Y. - Councilman Mike Barile is facing multiple criminal charges, including a felony, in the wake of an altercation between the councilman and Journal News columnist David McKay Wilson.
A spokesperson for the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department told Mahopac News that Barile turned himself in on Tuesday, Oct. 8, after police informed his lawyer, Joseph J. Tock, he would be facing charges.
Police said Barile has been charged with fourth-degree grand larceny, a class E felony; fourth-degree criminal mischief, a class A misdemeanor; and second-degree harassment, a violation.
Police said Barile had not yet been arraigned but was issued an appearance ticket to appear before the Carmel Town Court on Oct. 22.
Barile’s charges stem from an altercation between him and Wilson after the Sept. 18 Town Board meeting had adjourned. Wilson had written a series of “Tax Watch” columns calling into question how the councilman handled the park project at Swan Cove, as well as an alleged illegal sewer hookup at Blu at the Lakehouse restaurant on South Lake Boulevard, a property owned by Barile.
Wilson had been photographing and videotaping Barile throughout the meeting and after the meeting adjourned, was videotaping Barile from about 5 to 10 feet away and asking questions as the councilman sat at the dais.
Barile accused Wilson of invading his personal space and of taking pictures of his daughter, who, he said, had nothing to do with any story Wilson was writing.
As one point, Barile lobbed a plastic water bottle, which he said was empty, at the columnist, which struck him.
Barile then came out from behind the dais and confronted Wilson and somehow got the phone away from him. Wilson could be heard shouting, “He took my phone! He took my phone!”
Barile then went out through the side emergency exit door of the meeting room and threw the phone onto McAlpin Avenue.
Barile told Mahopac News he did not forcibly take the phone away from Wilson, but that Wilson offered it to him to prove there were no pictures of Barile’s family members on it—something Wilson denies.
The sheriff’s department spokesperson said that the felony grand larceny charge stems from Barile allegedly taking Wilson’s phone; the criminal mischief charge was a result of Barile damaging the phone; the harassment charge comes from the water bottle incident, which the spokesperson said could have been a more serious charge if the bottle had not been empty.
In the wake of the incident, Carmel Police Chief Mike Cazzari said Wilson asked to file charges against the councilman, but Cazzari referred him to the sheriff’s department, fearing that a Carmel PD investigation could be seen as a conflict of interest.
Reached for comment by Mahopac News, Barile said he could not comment at this time other than to say, “The truth will come out later.”
Calls made to Tock’s office were not returned by press time.
Mahopac News will update this story when more information becomes available.