AG tosses Helfrich's mayoral eligibility back to York DA office

Written by Shelly Stallsmith, York Daily Record | Dec 16, 2017 8:57 AM

Photo by Jason Plotkin, York Daily Record

York city mayor-elect Michael Helfrich reacts to his crowd of supporters at the Holy Hound Taproom following the announcement of his victory over C. Kim Bracey on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017.

(York) -- Michael Helfrich's ability to serve as York's next mayor will be reviewed by York County District Attorney-Elect Dave Sunday when he is sworn in next month.

That was the word from the Office of Attorney General Josh Shapiro on Friday, who said in a released statement that he and Sunday "mutually agreed DA-Elect Sunday will review the case in its entirety when he is sworn into office on Jan. 2."

Helfrich will also be sworn in on Jan. 2nd.

At the heart of the matter is Helfrich's 26-year felony conviction.

Helfrich, who defeated Kim Bracey in November's election, pleaded guilty in 1991 to conspiracy to commit possession with intent to deliver LSD and psilocybin mushrooms, according to court records.

Shapiro became involved when York County District Attorney Tom Kearney requested the review after recusing himself when the issue was brought up during the public comment section of the Nov. 21 city council meeting.

It isn't the first time Helfrich's ability to hold a public office has come under question.

When he was elected to city council in 2011, Bracey filed a lawsuit to prevent him from taking office because of the felony convictions.

Common Pleas Judge Stephen P. Linebaugh ruled in Helfrich's favor and Bracey didn't appeal the decision.

When it comes to questioning the ability of a public official's ability to serve, members of the public can only file suit after the local district attorney's office and Attorney General's office decline to do so.

This story is the result of a partnership between the York Daily Record and WITF.

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