Getchey awaiting trial on bribery allegation
While Shamokin landlord Barry Getchey argued and defended himself Thursday in a federal housing funds case before Senior Magisterial Judge Richard P. Cashman, he still faces a criminal trial on bribery charges.
State police charged Getchey April 16 with one count of bribery in official and political matters. According to the criminal complaint, Getchey allegedly offered $300 to Shamokin Housing Authority board chairman Raymond G. Splane if the chairman would help the landlord get back HUD money withheld from him by the authority.
Getchey has accused the authority of withholding more than $10,000 in federal rental assistance funds between November 2011 and January 2012. However, the authority claims Getchey violated his HUD contact by not having a functioning heating system in September and October 2011 and not remediating a mold problem and other safety issues in his North Sixth Street apartment building.
Getchey has maintained the money offered to Splane was not a bribe, but merely a thank-you gift if Splane agreed to help.
The landlord attended a court proceeding Tuesday to be accepted into the Northumberland County Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition Program (ARD) for a period of one year, after which time the bribery charge would be expunged from his record.
Getchey refused to take part in the program because authority members raised a last-minute objection to Getchey's participation. Authority members claim additional "acts" need to be investigated, according to Northumberland County District Attorney Tony Rosini.
"I brought this matter to Mr. Getchey's attention and said that there were two choices here: Either ask for a continuance or schedule (the bribery case) for trial and have the police investigate these matters," Rosini said Wednesday.
"I told them to send the case to trial and let them investigate." Getchey said Wednesday. "I've got nothing to hide."
According to paperwork Getchey received, the term of his probation would have been 12 months. He would also have had to pay $1,000 in prosecution, administrative and supervision fees and other mandated costs, and abide by any conditions referenced in the ARD order that was to be issued by County President Judge Robert Sacavage. "I was agreeable to all those conditions, but then those devils got to the district attorney and tried to screw me again," Getchey said Wednesday.
Before Tuesday's proceeding, Rosini spoke with Splane, housing authority executive director Ronald Miller and solicitor Frank Garrigan inside the courtroom.
Despite the civil trial, criminal proceedings and a libel lawsuit Splane filed against Getchey for derogatory remarks the landlord wrote on signs while he picketed the housing authority office on Independence Street over the summer, Getchey vowed to continue fighting.
"They are the ones that started this, but I'm going to finish it and be cleared of all their lies," Getchey said.