John Griffin


PENN YAN — The town of Barrington’s former code enforcement officer has been indicted by a Yates County grand jury for allegedly creating a false document related to a dispute with a town business owner.

District Attorney Todd Casella said Wednesday that John Griffin was indicted on felony-level charges of offering a false instrument for filing and issuing a false certificate. The same indictment includes one count of misdemeanor criminal impersonation.

Griffin’s case recently was presented to a grand jury following an investigation by state police and the district’s attorney office. Casella said the charges are related to Griffin’s conduct in 2014 and 2016.

Specifically, 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.

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 Finger Lakes Times photographer/columnist Spencer Tulis in 2017.

Olney said the alleged false document was one filed by Griffin after Olney completed an expansion project at his business. The state Liquor Authority later ruled in Olney’s favor, a decision backed by a judge.

Griffin has not been the code enforcement officer since 2017, when he was not reappointed by the town board. He is scheduled to be arraigned June 18 in county court.

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