Village rejects cop's resignation; Fox will remain on the job
By Julia Green
The Village of Margaretville Board of Trustees opted Monday not to accept a letter of resignation submitted by Margaretville Police Officer Harold Fox on June 4. The decision was made following an executive session at the board’s monthly meeting.
“Mr. Fox came before the board requesting that the board reject and not accept his letter of resignation, and the board agreed to reject and not accept his letter of resignation,” said Margaretville Mayor John VanBenschoten. “Mr. Fox continues to be the police officer for the Village of Margaretville.”
Fox submitted the letter to the board amid a dispute with Margaretville business owners Robin and Nadine Tischmacher, who own the Village Pub and Summerfields. The Tischmachers allege that a dispute arose with Fox following a party that was held in May at Harry and the Hippie Chic, a Main Street Margaretville business owned by Fox’s wife.
“Now I’m scared out of my mind,” Nadine Tischmacher told the News upon hearing of the board’s rejection of Fox’s resignation. “I can’t believe they rejected it. I’m amazed by this.”
The Tischmachers allege that confrontations have been brewing with the Foxes in the wake of parties held at Harry and the Hippie Chic, and Nadine said that her family feels personally intimidated by Fox, citing an instance in which Fox gave her daughter a ticket for littering.
“We have to pay him to terrorize us,” she said. “I’m really nervous. The board is just going to wipe this under the carpet. And they’re going to let him back in that car. I just cannot believe this.”
Tischmacher added that she and her husband have already sought legal counsel and will not hesitate to bring a lawsuit against the village if the issues continue, stating that the board has copies of photos of what the Tischmachers identify as intimidating signs displayed by Fox.
“We might have to sue the village because now I know he’s going to come after me,” Tischmacher added. “He’s not like [Roxbury Constable] Steve Williamson, who you go to with your troubles, he harasses us. … If he does one more little thing, one more little message directed toward me, I’ll take a picture of it and add it to the others. We’ve got a lot on him. We will have to [sue] if he continues to harass us.
“We’ve been in business for years on Main Street and I’m scared, so I have to do this to protect myself.”
A number of local merchants were in attendance at Monday’s meeting requesting that the board refuse Fox’s resignation.
Sue Ihlo, owner of the Cheese Barrel on Main Street in Margaretville, was one such business owner who spoke on Fox’s behalf, requesting that he be kept on as the village police officer.
“I hope you reconsider,” she said during the public comment phase of the meeting. “We do need him in the village. His presence – when he’s here, things don’t happen. I feel a lot safer.”
Lenore Remy, owner of Sweet Peas, echoed that sentiment, adding that Fox’s presence on Main Street helps to ensure the safety of young workers such as the ones she employs at her business.
“He has made himself very visible and very accessible,” Remy said on Monday, urging the board to disregard the “petty or political” issues that led to Fox’s submission of the letter. “The most important thing is, we found somebody who wants to do this job and does it well and keeps our kids safe. He knows us and we need him. Let’s not have something happen and we’re sorry.”
Fox declined to comment on the letter and its refusal, saying only that he appreciated the support from the business community.
Fox, a former detective from the New York City Police Department, began part-time work as the Margaretville constable on June 2, 2008.
“I have a good rapport with most of the merchants,” he said on Tuesday.
Also at Monday night’s regular meeting, the board voted to not endorse a liquor license renewal application for the Tischmacher’s Village Pub citing complaints that the establishment had been operating with its front door open in spite of previous complaints about that issue. The board stated that it would not endorse the renewal application until it receives written compliance of the issue from the Tischmachers.