Long-Time City Employee Charged with Grand Larceny
4/11/2013 (Updated 6:49:30 PM)(Source: Jason Weinstein)
John "Mokey" Whalen was a 39-year employee of the City of Binghamton, including a 28-year stint as Director of Parks and Recreation which ended when he resigned last November.
"Some irregularities in how he's conducting business became apparent in October," said Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan.
Whalen is now charged with Grand Larceny in the Second Degree. Whalen pled not guilty in Binghamton City Court this morning.
"Grand larceny 2nd goes from $50,000 to $1 million. It's a lot less than a million but we think it's more that $50,000. Somewhere in the tens of thousands," said Ryan.
Due to the Statute of Limitations, the allegation only covers behavior dating back to 2007. Ryan hasn't ruled out investigating potential improprieties before that date.
"Right now we've been focused on that statute of limitations period. If there's any possible way to go back further under state law we will," said Ryan.
A spokesperson for the State Comptroller's office says it is auditing the City of Binghamton over this matter, and that the audit should be done by the end of the year. The State Comptroller's Office has written letters to members of recreational sports teams who paid fees to the city since 2007, asking about methods of payment. Whalen faces a maximum 15-year sentence on the charge.
Ryan says since people in jail are less able to make restitution, his priority is a sentence that best helps Binghamton get it's money back.
"We want our money back as well so that's one of our goals, to get back as much money as we can so that will be our suggestion that we fashion a sentence that will allow us to get our money paid back," said Ryan.
Whalen was represented in court this morning by Richard Grace. A message left for Grace at his law office was not returned. There is no future court date for Whalen scheduled at this time.
****In Binghamton, Jason Weinstein, Fox 40 HD News****
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