About a year after wrapping up a single term as supervisor for the Town of Southeast, David Michael Rights is facing a misdemeanor charge in connection with an altercation that occurred at a local business.
Deputy Daniel Hunsberger with the Putnam County Sheriff's Office took Rights into custody at his home in Southeast Tuesday on a warrant issued by Southeast Town Justice Gregory Folchetti, authorities say.
The 51-year-old was charged with third-degree criminal trespassing after a staff member at World Gym Fitness Center, on Route 22 in Southeast, filed a complaint with authorities regarding a Nov. 15 incident.
"At about 4:30 p.m. that day, a female employee of the gym called 911 and reported a dispute in progress between her and a customer, who was later identified as Mr. Rights," officials said in a statement Wednesday. "A sheriff’s deputy responded to the 911 call, but Mr. Rights had departed from the gym before the deputy arrived. The gym employee told the deputy that Mr. Rights had raised a dispute over gym fees and then allegedly went behind a counter and entered into an office area open only to employees. She further reported that he allegedly refused her demands to remove himself from that area."
Rights, of Windswept Circle, would not comment on the incident Wednesday evening.
He said only that he has been treated "unjustly" by the "machine" of Vincent Leibell—a reference to the political connections of the and has reportedly been released from federal prison to a halfway house.
Rights would not say whether he has retained an attorney. He was arraigned before Southeast Town Justice Richard Vercollone and released without bail, pending a Jan. 15 appearance. He has been ordered to stay away from both the Southeast and Pawling World Gym locations, police said, at the request of the Putnam County district attorney.
In recent years, Rights has also been arrested in connection with drunken driving charges, according to several news agencies.
Click here for more Patch stories about Rights, who served from January 2008 until December 2011.