The chairman and former chairman of the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) expressed surprise at a member’s recent arrest and at the fact that the member is not listed as living in Derry.
Carnevale was arrested Thursday, May 29, in Londonderry and charged with two counts of identity fraud and two counts of tampering with public or private records. His address was listed as 1 Charleston Ave. #30 in Londonderry. In a subsequent arrest May 30 for Cruelty to Animals, he also gave his address as 1 Charleston Ave.
Carnevale is listed as the owner of 13 Bradford St. in Derry, which he purchased in April 2006.
“I did not know he was arrested,” current Chairman Lynn Perkins said. “I know he’s going through some personal matters and questions were asked because of that.”
But Perkins said he did not know Carnevale had been arrested, and did not know that he was using a Londonderry address.
Perkins did not know if he would have to ask Carnevale to resign. “It’s an interesting question,” he said. “We do have residential requirements, and we like to have them followed.”
Perkins said the arrest was a “stunner” to him. As for the residence issue, he said, “I’ll have to speak with the powers that be and ask what the regulations require.”
Former chairman Allan Virr said he did not know that Carnevale had changed residences. “When I was chairman he lived on Bedard Avenue,” Virr said. “I know he separated from his wife, but Joe was never one to talk about his personal life.”
Virr characterized Carnevale as a reliable board member, saying, “Joe was always there.”
It could be an issue, Virr allowed. “It’s a matter of personal honor to tell people – otherwise, we all assume he’s living in Derry,” he said.
Bail for the May 29 arrest was set at $5,000 cash, with a court date of June 9. Bail for the May 30 arrest was set at $2,500 plus the $40 bail commissioner’s fee and a court date was set for June 2.
His term on the Zoning Board is up in March 2016.
Det. Chris Olsen of the Londonderry Police Department said Carnevale was arrested and charged with two counts of identity fraud and two counts of tampering with public or private records.
Olsen said the two counts of identity fraud came from Carnevale allegedly creating documents that had the appearance of coming from a doctor’s office. “There were court orders he had to abide by and he clearly was not abiding by them, so he created the documents and used the doctor’s name,” Olsen said.
Creating the documents led to the second two charges of tampering with public or private records.
“The identity theft charges come from using the doctor’s name and the tampering with documents charges from creating the documents,” Olsen said.
The animal cruelty charges came when a 1-year-old pit bull was discovered in “less than desirable conditions” at Carnevale’s home. “It is alleged that the dog was confined to a small crate for the majority of the day,” Olsen said. “The dog had developed dermatitis pads on its legs from lying in its own urine.” It is alleged, Olsen said, that the dog was in the crate up to 23 hours per day.
The identity theft is a Class A felony, and if Carnevale is convicted he faces a sentence of 7 1/2 to 15 years, Olsen said. The “tampering with public or private documents” charge is a misdemeanor and could bring up to a year in jail, and the animal cruelty charge is also a misdemeanor and could bring up to a year in jail.
Acting Town Administrator Larry Budreau said the matter had been brought to his attention.
Budreau said that according to the state RSAs on local land use boards, a member must be a resident of the town he or she represents. He quoted RSA 673:3 regarding the Zoning Board, saying, “Each member must be a resident of the municipality in order to be appointed or elected.”
Budreau said, “We perceive the meaning of that to be that one needs to continue to be a resident in order to serve on the board. On the behalf of the Town Council, I will investigate this.”