Bristol township clerk resigns; wife faces criminal charges

An investigation of delinquencies by Bristol Township in its payments for fire protection services has led to criminal charges against Christine Durlam, 51, the wife of township clerk Justin Durlam.

Christine Durlam is charged with theft- first degree and fraudulent practices- third degree. Justin Durlam told Greene County sheriff deputy Shane Allen, who investigated the case, that he knew his wife had been writing checks on the township’s account for a couple of years. He even hid the checkbook from his wife, but it didn’t help.

According to Allen’s affidavit, which was filed in district court Aug. 29, sheriff Jack Williams, who is also chief of the Jefferson fire department, asked Allen to investigate. Bristol Township hadn’t made payments to the city of Jefferson for its portion of fire protection services and a firetruck set aside fund. The township was $15,107 behind in payments starting in 2014.

Williams contacted a Bristol Township trustee and obtained bank records for 2019. Allen noted that he noticed multiple checks written to Christine Davis-Durlam for tree removal, snow removal, rock, and rental of a skid loader. The checks were signed by Justin Durlam.

Allen started the investigation July 17. On July 19, the Durlams deposited $15,060 in cash into the Bristol Township checking account. Justin Durlam then wrote a check to the city of Jefferson for $15,000 from the township account.

Jefferson isn’t the only city not to receive payments from Bristol Township for fire protection services. According to Allen’s investigation, the township owes Scranton $2,408 and it owes Churdan two years of payments.

At the same time, Christine Durlam was being paid by Bristol Township. From 2015 to2019, she was paid $35,709. Of that, $6,802 was for mowing, a service she did for the township. Excluding the mowing, Allen alleges she received $28,907. Assuming the cash deposit the Durlams made in July was an effort to “pay back” the township, the Durlams still owe $13,847.

According to the affidavit, deputy Allen met with Justin Durlam Aug. 1 at the LEC. It was then that Durlam said he knew his wife was writing checks on the township account.

Allen planned to meet with Christine Durlam, but before the meeting took place she hired an attorney and did not speak with Allen. According to county attorney Thomas Laehn, the charges of theft- first degree and fraudulent practices were agreed to by himself and Christine Durlam’s attorney.

Charges have not been filed against Justin Durlam. He resigned as township clerk and

Christine Durlam resigned from paid township duties on Aug. 8. Justin Durlam was appointed as clerk Sept. 29, 2014, by the county supervisors.

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