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July 29, 2014
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Earley exonerated by DA of crimes; Honesdale council member apologized to former zoning officer


In a letter to Honesdale Borough Council President F. J. Monaghan, Janine Edwards, Wayne County District Attorney, exonerated former borough zoning officer Wayne Earley from any wrongdoing in a number of alleged incidents surrounding Earley and his office in the borough building.

The allegations regarding Earley were presented to the council by member Bob Jennings. The council, following Jenning’s lead, sent letters to the DA requesting an investigation.

After the meeting, when the DA’s letter was read exonerating Earley, Jennings had no comment.

The accusations concerned numerous charges: the missing of $20 or $30 from the borough petty cash, missing records concerning a land-tract easement issue between Jennings and Harold Sullum, as well as the disappearance of a computer from Earley’s office containing some of his records.

After conducting an investigation through a PA State Police investigator, Edwards stated that the investigation concluded that no evidence was found that warranted prosecution.

Another investigation by the state police of an alleged break-in at Earley’s office concluded that there was no report of anything missing and no evidence of a crime. Additionally, allegation that files were missing from the Texas Township office where Earley was also the zoning officer could not be substantiated.

No criminal action was evident.

Edwards commented on a story in The Wayne Independent that alleged corruption in the Texas Township occurred over so-called missing records related to Earley’s job there. After meeting with officials of Texas Township, who stated that they were not aware of any criminal activity, Edwards dismissed the matter. Edwards then referred to another article in The Wayne Independent regarding an improper condemnation by Earley of the Honesdale EMS building and dismissed the allegation after an investigation. A further investigation into the allegation that Wayne Independent reporter Josh Wengler left his recording device in a bag during an executive session of borough officials found no crime had been committed.

“At this time, the District Attorney’s office has no basis for criminal charges to be filed in any of the above incidents,” Edwards concluded.

During the borough meeting on May 14, council member Nick Slish apologized to Earley for any pain or inconvenience he might have endured from the allegations.

Earley was dismissed by the council on March 12 for his failure to obtain the proper licenses to carry out his job. Edward’s statements about possible criminal activity had nothing to do with Earley’s lack of proper licensure. The matter of improper licensure is the domain of the PA Department of Labor and Industry, not of the DA’s office.

“It is my understanding that Honesdale Borough Council is considering an audit,” Edwards concluded at the close of her letter. “I am certainly available and willing to review any evidence of criminal activity from said audit if one is performed.”