Main Line Realtor fired over alleged critter dumping
A Main Line Realtor cited in an alleged scheme to dump dead critter carcasses on a rival neighbor’s lawn in a home sale flap says she has been fired over negative publicity and, through an attorney, blames "horrible falsities."
Andrea Straub issued a statement through Philadelphia attorney George Bochetto saying that her position with a local Prudential Fox & Roach office was terminated on Wednesday.
Straub, 34, and her husband, Jonathan, were accused of disorderly conduct and harassment, after surveillance video surfaced allegedly implicating them in a scheme to hamper the sale of a neighbor's home. The video shows someone tossing dead mice and snakes on a next-door-neighbor’s driveway. The video also showed tree branches being cut down and ‘For Sale’ signs being kicked down.
The Straubs and the neighbor, Mary Martell, had their homes up for sale at the same time in a tony neighborhood on Booth Lane in Lower Merion Township where houses are routinely valued at $1 million.
Police identified the Straubs as behind the vandalism after reviewing the video. A Lower Merion spokesman said Jonathan Straub "admitted to it and apologized."
But Bochetto said in the statement that the Straubs were “falsely accused” and that he would explain more next week. The statement said Bochetto, “will divulge previously unreported facts in the case.” Bochetto, a defamation attorney, further said the couple was a victim of “horrible falsities.” Bochetto blamed Straub’s firing on negative publicity surrounding a news account of the video.
The incident first entered the public light in late June when a police report surfaced in the press. Martell's house sitter filed the report on June 20 based on video from a surveillance system erected atop a birdhouse.
The Straubs were issued two citations for disorderly conduct and harassment punishable by a fine of up to $300 each as a result of the video.
The tiff between the neighbors started over Martell's "For Sale" signs, which the Straubs believed violated township code. When the Straubs attempted to remove the signs, the caretaker installed the surveillance system.
However, John List, another lawyer for the Straubs, said the people captured on the video aren't recognizable and that the Straubs never admitted any wrongdoing to police. List plans to fight the criminal citation.