Larry Stoudt, the vice president of Nazareth Borough Council, is facing charges after allegedly attempting to obstruct a Pennsylvania State Police undercover investigation, according to a press release issued Friday morning.
The Pennsylvania State Police Liquor Enforcement Office was conducting an investigation into possible violations at a private social club in Nazareth. The club was not named.
According to the press release, an undercover officer obtained membership into the club using a fake driver's license, a photocopy of which is kept on file at the club.
Shortly after, a search warrant was executed at the social club.
Stoudt, 74, then headed to the Nazareth Borough Police Department with the photocopied driver's license in hand, police say, to ask Police Chief Thomas Trachta to "query" the license to determine if it was real or fake.
According to the press release, Stoudt explained to Trachta that he believed the person was an undercover officer responsible for the warrant executed on the social club.
Stoudt added "that he did not want the undercover officer to conduct an investigation at another social club in Nazareth," according to the press release.
Trachta refused to handle Stoudt's request, the press release states.
In an e-mail to Patch, Nazareth Mayor Fred Daugherty Jr. said Trachta has been directed to cooperate fully with authorities.
He added, "I have no comment otherwise."
Dan Chiavaroli, president of Council, said he couldn't knowledgeably comment on Stoudt's pending charge because he had yet to learn the full details.
"It wouldn’t be fair to [Stoudt] and it wouldn’t be fair to Council to say what will happen next, because I just don’t know the whole situation," Chiavaroli said.
Stoudt's phone was disconnected Friday afternoon and he could not be reached for comment.
The charge against Stoudt -- criminal attempt-obstruction of law or government -- has yet to be filed at District Judge John Capobianco's office, according to court records.
In March, Trachta defended his department’s integrity after Stoudt publicly accused officers of mishandling money that had been stolen from a female senior citizen.
“I had the opportunity to personally interview the victim in court,” Trachta told members of council's Police Committee on March 20. “The victim said she never spoke to anyone on council about the missing money. There was never any issue with this case. It was handled properly.”
Following the suspect's preliminary hearing, Trachta said, the money was returned.
Trachta added that he cannot address investigations in public for risk of victimizing the people involved.
Jack Herbst, chairman of the committee, said he was the one who brought the topic up to Stoudt. According to Herbst, he heard second-hand that the woman did not know where her money was.
“The real problem was that a council member made a public statement about wrongdoing with the handling of money,” Trachta said. “This council member is getting into a police matter without having anything to do with the case.”
Stoudt has been on Nazareth Borough Council for more than 30 years and has previously served as chairman of the Police Committee.
In a questionnaire he answered for Patch in November 2011, Stoudt listed the Harold V. Knecht Post 415 American Legion, 158 S. Main St., Nazareth, under "Community Service." He also noted his membership with the East Lawn Social Club. However, that club is located in Upper Nazareth Township.