• Rich Klein

Parks, Co-Defendants Ordered To Pay Village of Liberty $12,890 In Restitution

LIBERTY - Peter Parks, the former Village of Liberty public works supervisor, has been ordered by State Supreme Court Justice Stephan Schick to pay the Village $12,890 following his sentencing January 14 for his role in "Operation Double-Booked" - the 2019 case that resulted from a joint investigation between the Sullivan County District Attorney's Office and the Village of Liberty Police Department.


Parks in January was sentenced to five years of probation on the condition that he and co-defendants Michael Houghtaling and Daniel Curry - Parks' former co-workers - make payments of $100 per month to the Sullivan County Probation Department. The restitution is based on the joint and several liability doctrine.


The trio were forced to resign in December 2019 after the four-month investigation alleged that the three were working in Parks' contracting business while on taxpayer time.


Parks in late October 2020 plead guilty to Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, "for stealing more than $17,000 from the Village in his former role as Working Supervisor in the Village's Department of Public Works," according to District Attorney Meagan Galligan, who held a high-profile news conference one month after former DA Jim Farrell won election to become County Court Judge and had appointed Galligan the County's Acting DA. The plea deal with Parks in October came right before Election Day, when she defeated challenger Frank LaBuda.


Galligan previously said that Parks could face up to 2 1/3 to 7 years of incarceration on this conviction if he failed to produce at least $6,000 in restitution up front on the date of sentencing.


But there's nothing in the order filed earlier this week that affirms a payment of $6,000 was made. The SullivanTimes early Saturday reached out to Parks' attorney, Jared Hart, for comment and clarification.


The prosecution's case against Houghtaling, which includes three criminal charges, was delayed due to Covid but reportedly continues in May. He is being represented by Monticello attorney Henri Shawn, who could not immediately be reached for comment early Saturday.


It's unknown at press time if any charges are still pending against Curry. The SullivanTimes previously reported from a source that Curry was never officially arrested and may have cooperated in the investigation.


Village of Liberty Mayor Ron Stabak had also played a role in the investigation and spoke at the December 2019 news conference with Galligan and Liberty Police Chief Scott Kinne and with Farrell observing.


The investigation led to the forced resignation or retirement of Liberty Police Officer David Abram, as reported exclusively by The SullivanTimes. A source in January 2020 who did not want to be identified told this media outlet that Abram had tried to warn his wife, a Village employee, to avoid the public works department on the day that law enforcement was about to make the arrests on December 12.


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