John Griffin

Griffin

BARRINGTON — The town’s former code enforcement officer faces a criminal charge for allegedly creating a false document related to a dispute with a local business owner.

John Griffin was charged Dec. 29 by state police with second-degree offering a false instrument for filing. The charge is a misdemeanor.

State police Inv. Diane Trickey of the Dundee barracks, who filed the charge, said Griffin was given an appearance ticket for Barrington Town Court. He is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 16.

Trickey declined to discuss specifics of the case, referring a Times reporter to Yates County District Attorney Todd Casella.

In an email to the Times Wednesday, Casella said Griffin — while he was the town’s code enforcement officer — issued two certificates of occupancy to The Olney Place on Route 54. Casella said one of them was false.

“Both became parts of the record of the town, so he is charged with offering a false instrument for filing,” Casella said. “There has been a lot of litigation regarding The Olney Place, but the criminal charge only deals with the issue of the false certificate of occupancy.”

The Olney Place is owned by Seth Olney, who filed lawsuits against Griffin and the town over necessary permits, certificates of occupancy, and a liquor license. The dispute was the subject of a “Bigger Picture” column by Times photographer/columnist Spencer Tulis in 2017.

The New York State Liquor Authority later ruled in Olney’s favor, a decision backed by an area judge.

Contacted by phone Wednesday afternoon, Olney said the alleged false document was one filed by Griffin after Olney completed an expansion project at his business.

“This abuse of power is not acceptable,” Olney said of the charge against Griffin.

Griffin has not been the town’s code enforcement officer since 2017, when he was not reappointed by the town board.

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