Charges against District 2 County Legislature candidate Christopher P. Allen alleging criminal trespass have been filed with the Village of Saugerties Court. According to the complaint, lodged by Saugerties resident Paul Fowler, at about 7:58 p.m. on Oct. 30, Allen entered his residence through an unlocked door and verbally harassed him and his girlfriend, Gail Ferris, for approximately five minutes. Fowler alleges that he asked Allen to leave the residence four times before the legislative hopeful, who faced off Tuesday against Democrat John Schoonmaker and Republican Al Bruno for the seat he occupied before being defeated two years ago by Joe Maloney (who isn’t running for re-election) complied. Allen finished third in the election.
Contacted Monday, Nov. 4, Allen called the whole thing “a bunch of lies.”
“Charges have brought against him and they have been filed with a local criminal court,” said Saugerties Police Chief Joe Sinagra Monday. “[He] will be charged after arraignment. A criminal summons will be issued by the court directing Mr. Allen to appear before the local criminal court to answer the charge. At that time, the judge will instruct the defendant to then come to the Saugerties Police Department for the purposes of being fingerprinted and photographed…there are three methods [to arrest someone] — we either arrest you right on the spot, we arrest you with an appearance ticket [for the local court] or we file for a criminal summons.”
Sinagra said that because Allen is accused of a misdemeanor, he has the option of a jury trial. The village court could not be immediately reached to confirm a date for Allen’s arraignment.
When reached for comment this week, Fowler said the topic of his dispute with Allen was campaign signs; he said Allen had placed signs at a nearby gas station, which Fowler said were removed because Allen allegedly did not have permission to place them there.
“He came to my house, the door was cracked, I didn’t realize that [my girlfriend] had cracked the door for my pets,” Fowler said. “He just burst in the door and starts freaking out on me…I ordered him out three times, then told him, ‘If I have to get off this couch I’ll kick your ass.'”
Fowler said Allen then left the residence, slamming the door behind him and continuing to yell once he had left the home. He said that Allen then went to the gas station in question to speak with the establishment’s owner; Fowler said security footage from the latter part of the incident at the gas station would be subpoenaed for use in the upcoming criminal trial.
“It was completely inappropriate behavior,” said Ferris of the incident. “[Fowler] was trying to explain, ‘I do not have your signs, they’re next door [at the gas station.].’”
Contacted on Monday, Allen denied Fowler’s allegations. “Paul Fowler made this whole story up,” Allen said. “I never set foot in his apartment. I was out in the hallway.”
In a long and at times rambling interview with this publication on Monday, Allen explained his presence at Fowler’s house in two different ways. One way, the one he insisted is true in follow-up communications — one of which threatens this publication with litigation — is that he went to the home to collect absentee ballots he had provided for Fowler and Ferris. But Allen also said at one point he went to Fowler’s home the evening of Oct. 30 to try to find out what had happened to a campaign sign of his that was at the gas station. “I never set foot in his apartment — I was in the hallway for about 30-40 seconds,” Allen said. “[Ferris] said hi to me nicely, [Fowler] started to scream at me … I got the hell out of there.”
As of Monday afternoon, Allen said he had not been contacted by the police and said he could not believe someone could be arrested before they were questioned. “No one has contacted me from the police.”
Allen said he thought he might be the victim of skullduggery and alleged a conspiracy by his political foes to wreck his chances on Election Day. “I think there was a chance [that I was set up],” he said. “The whole thing is a bunch of lies.”
Back in 2015, Allen was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault after a disagreement with a Greene County schoolteacher over a parking spot at a Tannersville swimming hole. At the time of the incident, the teacher told Saugerties Times she was cleaning up the parking area with a fellow teacher and a group of students when Allen arrived in his vehicle. After she told him not park there because it would interfere with their cleanup, she said he became angry and, when she displayed her ID on a lanyard around her neck, he pulled on it hard enough to leave abrasions. Allen said Monday that the charges had been dropped; this newspaper is not able to independently confirm this.
Fowler made his statement to police under oath. At the bottom of the accusatory instrument outlining the accusations against Allen, it states that making a false written statement is a Class A misdemeanor.
(Editor’s note: This version of the story is updated and corrects the erroneous spelling of Gail Ferris’ name.)