HARVEYS LAKE — A debate over a council member’s residence eligibility has resulted in a local police investigation that was turned over to the Luzerne County District Attorney’s office last month.
Thomas F. Kehler, elected for a second term on the Harveys Lake Borough Council, is having his Affidavit of Residency investigated for potential perjury, Police Chief Charles Musial said.
On Jan. 4, Kehler signed and dated an Affidavit of Residency stating, he is “a registered elector of the borough of Harveys Lake” and that he “resided continuously in the borough for at least one year immediately prior to my election in accordance with sections 801 and 901 of the Borough Code, Act 43-2012.”
Kehler did live on Lakeside Drive in Harveys Lake for several years but moved out due to a divorce in June 2015, Musial said. Kehler did own another property in the borough at the time, but it did not have a home on it, Musial said.
Kehler moved into a new home on Dudley Avenue in Harveys Lake sometime in January, said Harveys Lake Borough Mayor Clarence Hogan.
Kehler’s residency during the seven-month time frame is under question.
Luzerne County Bureau of Elections solicitor Michael Butera said there is a gray area when it comes to the issue of residency.
“For example, a college student going away to school can claim Harveys Lake as their residence while they are living and going to school in Philadelphia,” Butera said.
In Kehler’s situation, the circumstances that made him leave his “family” home and the fact “he had the intent to return to the borough could play a role in the case,” Butera said.
Kehler gave no comment regarding the charges except he “has a lawyer and it is being handled.”
The Harveys Lake Borough Police Department turned the case over to the district attorney’s office mid-January, Musial said.
The district attorney’s office did not provide any comment on the status of the case before the publication deadline.