The mayor of a New York suburb spent a night in jail for failing to open enough doors to a children’s camp, the Poughkeepsie Journal is reporting.
Spring Valley mayor Demeza Delhomme was held in Contempt of Court by Justice Gerald Loehr, who had ordered the mayor to open the town’s civic center for use by a children’s summer camp, according to the Lower Hudson Journal News.
Village Attorney Jerrold Miles was “stunned” by the action, saying:
“I was stunned that the judge would make the decision to put a political official in jail based on whether or not a key was provided for an office.”
Reports vary as to the exact sequence of events that led to the mayor being jailed. What is clear is that earlier, the director of Spring Valley’s youth summer camp and the mayor had gotten into an undisclosed conflict, according to reports, and Delhomme suspended the director. Both the mayor and the village attorney believed that this action meant the summer camp would not be held.
Several other village officials then filed suit against Delhomme, and the matter was brought before the State Supreme Court. At a hearing, Justice Loehr ordered Delhomme to open the doors. When the officials in charge of managing the camp showed up Friday morning to open the camp, they found that some of the doors were still locked, making it difficult to prepare. Delhomme was then ordered into jail, following the judge’s contempt ruling.
Delhomme spoke about the situation on his official Twitter account, a few hours before being sent to jail.
To clarify, no arrest warrant has been issued. Only a misunderstanding. Judge agrees to have court later today.
— Demeza Delhomme (@MayorSVNY) July 31, 2014
Lamiche Powell, a parent who had registered her two children for the camp, and who was at the town’s civic center Friday, told the Journal News that she registered her kids for the Spring Valley camp because she would otherwise have to go to a nearby town:
“I can walk here from my house. I shouldn’t have to take a cab or bus all the way to Congers to take my children to summer camp.”
This is not the first time a Spring Valley mayor has found himself or herself in legal trouble. Delhomme’s immediate predecessor, Noramie Jasmin, is currently facing trial for mail fraud and corruption charges (see this Inquisitr article), according to the Journal News.
Is being jailed for failing to open enough doors a reasonable punishment? Let us know what you think in the comments.
[Image courtesy of: Rockland Times]