County de­tec­tives in­ves­ti­gate whether for­mer coun­cil­man broke law by serv­ing ‘in­valid’ sub­poena

The Advance of Bucks County - - BRISTOL AREA - By El­iz­a­beth Fisher

Ad­vance cor­re­spon­dent

TrLLYTOWN - County de­tec­tives are look­ing into whether an “in­valid” sub­poena served on a Tul­ly­town busi­ness by a county em­ployee rises to the level of crim­i­nal con­duct. At the very least, Bucks County Dis­trict At­tor­ney David Heck­ler said that he is dis­turbed by what he called an unau­tho­rized abuse of the author­ity of the court.

The DA said that Ge­orge Fox, a for­mer Tul­ly­town coun­cil­man, served the sub­poena Sept. 14 on “in­no­cent” civil­ians who com­plied with its de­mands by fur­nish­ing Fox with sur­veil­lance video from the busi­ness’s se­cu­rity cam­era. Fox al­legedly wanted to ex­am­ine the video in an ef­fort to catch Coun­cil­woman May Kuch­ler re­mov­ing signs from the grassy area around the Le­vit­town Park­way, an act he con­sid­ered il­le­gal.

Fox had pre­vi­ously filed a com­plaint over the sign re­moval with the DA’s of­fice but that com­plaint was dis­missed. He then de­cided to take mat­ters into his own hands by is­su­ing the sub­poena, which is eas­ily ob­tained from the of­fice where he works.

“A sub­poena is an or­der to ap­pear in court. In this case, there is no court ac­tion pend­ing,” he said.

Sub­poe­nas can be pur­chased by lawyers in­volved in crim­i­nal or civil cases but only when an ac­tion is pend­ing in court and there is a docket num­ber, the DA added.

“Ge­orge is not au­tho­rized to serve sub­poe­nas,” the DA said. “We’re not drop­ping all of our murder cases to go over all this, but the de­tec­tives are in­ves­ti­gat­ing and when the re­port is in, I’ll de­ter­mine whether a crime has been com­mit­ted.”

The dis­pute be­gan Sept. 8, the date of the Tul­ly­town pic­nic, when Kuch­ler, a mem­ber of the coun­cil’s streets and build­ings com­mit­tee, de­cided to re­move signs that she felt were il­le­gal and un­sightly. The tul­ly­town.org, sign vi­o­lated the bor­ough’s signs or­di­nance against ad­ver­tis­ing, she said.

Tul­ly­town.org is an un­of­fi­cial news­let­ter put out by some mem­bers of coun­cil and Kuch­ler claims is laced with lies about po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents..

Con­tacted on Fri­day, Fox said he had no com­ment. But Heck­ler had plenty to say about bor­ough politi­cians, some of whom he re­ferred to at knuck­le­heads.

“Tul­ly­town is the worst gov­erned community in Bucks County and I told them so. The ac­cu­sa­tions that fly into my of­fice out­num­ber any other town and, of those com­plaints, I have never found any­thing that amounted to malfea­sance,” he said. “If [bor­ough politi­cians] want to play slap­stick among them­selves, that’s one thing. In­volv­ing the court’s author­ity is an­other.”

Act­ing Tul­ly­town Po­lice Chief Dan Doyle said that he was con­tacted by the busi­ness, Farm and Home Oil, lo­cated on the Le­vit­town Park­way. They showed him a copy of the sub­poena and ques­tioned its le­git­i­macy.

“I checked out the video and I sent the pa­per­work di­rectly up to the dis­trict at­tor­ney’s of­fice for in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” Doyle said.

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