Monday, I told you that Northampton County Controller Steve Barron snubbed a crime victim, Susan Eagle, who is still waiting for restitution from a break-in at her home eleven years ago. Yesterday, I posted Barron's attempt at damage control, which was refuted by the crime victim herself.
During this time, Northampton County Executive John Stoffa asked his administrative director, Tom Harp, to see what he could do. As it turns out, Tom was able to do a lot.
Yesterday afternoon, Stoffa reported to County Council about the Eagle case, blasting Barron for injecting himself in a matter that is beyond the scope of his duties as Controller, and then mucking it up.
Stoffa's Report to Council: At last week`s council meeting a woman named Susan Eagle appeared and testified under courtesy of the floor in regard to her difficulty in getting restitution for crimes committed against her. I asked [Direcotor of Administration] Tom Harp to see what he could do to help her. His report is detailed below. What is unfortunate about this case is that it was never referred to the criminal division for assistance by the only one who had contact with Susan at that point - Mr Barron. Mr Barron, the county controller, decided to handle it on his own, basically delving into an administrative matter, which in my opinion, he should not have done. It is unfortunate that members of the audience or those viewing might have assumed this to be a short coming of our criminal division staff … it was not! If any of you have any questions about this please let me know.
Tom Harp's Report: Since we first learned of the Susan Eagle restitution situation our office has facilitated a number of actions that hopefully will result in a successful resolution. I have personally spoken with Ms. Eagle on at least 6 occasions and we have exchanged several e-mails. She has provided us with several new “leads” relating to the whereabouts of Stuart Bonds, case 2005-1633 who is believed to be living in Newark, N.J. There is an open bench warrant on Mr. Pagan. The addresses provided by Ms. Eagle were forwarded to Sergeant Orchulli, who handles warrants for the Sheriff’s office. Sgt. Orchulli was provided with Ms. Eagle’s cell number and called her yesterday. In addition I have been communicating with both Leigh Ann Fischer, Clerk of Courts in the Criminal Division and Archie Disidore, Director of Court Services about Ms. Eagle’s restitution claims. Leigh Ann advised us that Stuart Bonds had failed to appear for a parole violation on 8/1/08 which instituted the bench warrant. She contacted Marie Bartosh in the probation office who confirmed that Mr. Bonds is still on probation and there is still an open bench warrant on him. Regarding the other individual owing restitution to Ms. Eagle, Bolivar Pagan, JV248-2000 Leigh Ann contacted Michele Zito in the juvenile probation office who indicating that a judgment has been filed against Mr. Pagan. Ms. Eagle provided me with information that Mr. Pagan is currently residing in Allentown, and is on adult probation in Lehigh County. Leigh Ann will forward this information on to our probation office to see if we can work together with them to facilitated her restitution.
Ms. Eagle has asked that we delay referring the Pagan restitution matter to MRS, our collection agency since Sgt. Orchulli has some promising leads that may be fruitful. But she is aware that is an option if other methods begin to fail. I have advised Ms. Eagle that Leigh Ann will now be her primary contact for her restitution matters. She may also contact Sgt. Orchulli with information that could lead to the serving of Mr. Pagan’s bench warrant.
So at this time I feel we are doing all we can to be of assistance to Ms. Eagle to obtain her restitution.