Dayton King to resign as mayor

Pleads guilty to misdemeanor count of official misconduct

Gloversville Mayor Dayton King, right, agreed to resign from office today by 5 p.m. in City Court as part of a plea agreement. He pleaded guilty to official misconduct, a misdemeanor. (The Leader-Herald/Ashley Onyon)

GLOVERSVILLE — Mayor Dayton King accepted a plea agreement today in City Court, pleading guilty to official misconduct, a misdemeanor, and resigning from office by 5 p.m.

King, 40, was taken into custody by state police on Nov. 14 and charged with felony first-degree falsifying business records, official misconduct and petit larceny in for using the city postage meter located in City Hall for purposes other than city business and falsifying the meter ledger.

He entered a plea of not guilty to those charges in City Court on Nov. 19.

He returned to City Court today joined by his attorney Robert Abdella before Amsterdam City Court Judge Lisa Lorman and accepted a plea agreement reached with the special prosecutor on the case, Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen.

Under the agreement, King pleaded guilty to misdemeanor official misconduct and agreed to file a letter of resignation as mayor of Gloversville effective 5 p.m. today in the City Clerk’s Office.

Gloversville Mayor Dayton King agreed to resign from office today by 5 p.m. in City Court as part of a plea agreement. He pleaded guilty to official misconduct, a misdemeanor. (The Leader-Herald/Ashley Onyon)

Additionally, King will be required to complete 50 hours of community service, pay restitution in the amount of $473.07 and fines totaling over $750, and submit to a DNA sample.

Heggen noted in court that the plea is in full satisfaction of the original charges.

Before accepting the plea, Lorman asked King, “Is it true Mr King that from Jan. 5 of 2018 until Oct. 15, 2018 that you did use the city of Gloversville postage meter for your own personal use for the sum of $473.07?”

King looked to his attorney before answering, “yes.” Lorman then accepted the plea and sentenced King in accordance with the agreement.

Immediately following the proceedings, both King and Abdella declined to comment on what transpired in court today. Abdella said King will be issuing a press release later today.

“He is going to issue a press release in a couple of hours, so I’m not going to comment until he does that,” Abdella said once outside of the courtroom.

Heggen offered some insight into the reasoning behind the plea agreement, saying it was important that King be held accountable when asked if his resignation as mayor was the focus of the agreement.

“I think it was important in this case to hold the defendant here accountable for his actions. He was charged with some serious violations of law, they dealt particularly with heightened, enhanced responsibilities as an elected official and having him plead guilty today to official misconduct, to admit that he abused that authority and position that the citizens of this community had entrusted him with, I thought was important,” Heggen said.

When asked if King’s previous criminal record was considered in relation to this case, Heggen said that only that she took into account all of the information that she was provided.

“I think he is being held accountable and responsible for his criminal conduct today,” she added.

King pleaded guilty to second-degree harassment, a violation, in Johnstown Town Court on Sept. 10 as part of a plea arrangement stemming from charges over his alleged release of information from the personnel file of former mayoral candidate and current city firefighter William Rowback Jr. during the 2017 mayoral race. He was originally charged with official misconduct.

Today Heggen noted the local interest in the charges against King as a clear indication of their importance to those in and around the city, that interest was shared by the members of the Common Council most of whom observed the proceedings.

The council members exited the courtroom briefly before King’s appearance, returning a short time later along with Heggen.

Councilman-at-Large Vincent DeSantis said the council was consulted in the case representing the city as the victim of the crime, but the council had no authority over the handling of King’s case or its outcome.

“We sort of had hands off of the judicial process, it’s really a matter of separation of powers, the judicial branch of government is a separate branch of government and we’re the legislative branch of government,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis said the council has remained focused on running the city since charges were brought against King and intends to continue on this course, determining who among the council will hold the office of mayor during the city’s organizational meeting scheduled for Thursday at 6 p.m.

“The city council is going to be making some decisions tomorrow night as to who sits in these seats that are going to be vacated and of course that’s only for a few months until November when the voters will decide who is in the mayor’s seat,” DeSantis said.

When asked previously about who would fill the role of mayor in the event King resigned or otherwise was removed from office, DeSantis has stated his willingness to serve, but declined to comment today on who the council may select as they are required to do under the City Charter.

Overall DeSantis said he and the council members are “relieved” that the case against King has been resolved.

“We’re energized and we feel like the question that’s been looming all this time has been resolved and now we have a definite way forward,” DeSantis said. “This has kind of been a distraction and now that distraction is over.”