Ex-Amsterdam supervisor takes deal in case involving fellow official
AMSTERDAM Charges lodged against a former Montgomery County supervisor after a heated argument with his girlfriend - another county supervisor - were resolved this week in Amsterdam City Court.
Karl Baia, 29, pleaded guilty to two violations and paid $620 in fines and surcharges Wednesday, according to Fulton County District Attorney Louise K. Sira, special prosecutor in the case.
Baia, who was serving as the city's 5th Ward supervisor at the time, was arrested in August 2011 after city police responded to a 911 hang-up from the residence of Barbara Wheeler - Baia's girlfriend and the city's 4th Ward supervisor. An argument between the pair - which awoke Wheeler's child - resulted in Baia being charged with burglary, endangering the welfare of a child and criminal mischief.
Sira said jury selection was under way Wednesday when Baia indicated he was willing to accept a plea agreement that was on the table. Sira said Baia has no prior criminal record and the argument was a verbal one where the child was never in harm's way.
"It's a fair and just result," Sira said.
Wheeler declined to comment on the case today. Sira said Wheeler approved the plea agreement and said she was "anxious to put this whole incident behind her."
Baia said a felony burglary charge - which was dropped during the case - likely cost him his November bid for re-election to a write-in campaign conducted by former city Assessor Michael Chiara.
"A felony was charged before the election, and after the election, it was conveniently dropped. This is the reason I didn't get elected," Baia said.
Baia said initial reports he'd broken a door to the apartment were false - the door was already broken, he said. Baia said he and Wheeler had been together for three years at the time of the argument and each had keys to the other's apartment.
He said the incident was "blown out of proportion" but taught him an important lesson about humility and not getting into arguments.
"You've just got to keep your mouth shut," Baia said.