Jenkintown mayor investigated by D.A.

April 29, 2011 9:29:07 PM PDT
With prom and graduation season almost underway, concern about underage drinking is beginning to rise. That may be one reason why an investigation underway in Montgomery County is particularly troubling.

Dozens of teens gathered at the home of Jenkintown's mayor for a party on a recent Friday night. Most of the kids are classmates of Ed Foley's daughter at Jenkintown High School.

One of them ended up in the hospital with alcohol poisoning.

Now, the Montgomery County D.A. is investigating.

"Ordinarily, it's not the type of case we would typically be involved with," said Montgomery Co. District Attorney Risa Ferman, "but because there's involvement with an elected official who has some supervisory authority over the police department, the police chief thought it was prudent to send it to the District Attorney's office. And I think that was a wise decision."

The D.A. says investigators will be looking into an allegation that the Jenkintown Police had been ordered by Mayor Foley to keep it quiet. Foley's lawyer says his client has not tried to cover this up.

Police chief Albert DiValentino has not responded to Action News' calls for comment. We tried to get a copy of the incident report which is a public record. They're normally readily available to reporters. But, instead of producing the report, borough manager Michael English had Action News' David Henry fill out a form.

Here's what English had to say when we returned two days later: "We're in the process of getting the request done and we'll get back to you in a couple of days"

David Henry: "What's the issue with this report? Why is it so different? "

Michael English: "We typically take about five days for most of our requests for information."

David Henry: "But most reporters can walk in and get it right then and there."

Michael English: "Well, you know, that's, you know, the process we're doing right now. And, like I said, I'll get back to you in another couple of days."

The minor who was hospitalized is a foreign exchange student. The supervising teacher held an emergency meeting at the high school the next day with the exchange students and host parents. She told the police that the students admitted they had been drinking at the Mayor's house.

Mayor Foley's lawyer, former borough council member Emmett Madden, says there's no evidence that any kids were drinking at Foley's house and that, if they were, Foley wasn't aware of it.

The county investigators will be interviewing the kids who were at the party, the police chief, and Mayor Foley.

If there was underage drinking and Mayor Foley knew about it, he'd be subject to a $1,000 fine. But, there could be more serious consequences if the investigation reveals an attempt to make it all go away.