COVINGTON, La. - Embattled St. Tammany Coroner Dr. Peter Galvan has tendered his resignation, as expected, to the Secretary of State office.
The one-sentence resignation letter said simply: "Please accept this correspondence as my official resignation as St. Tammany Coroner, effective October 18, 2013 at 5:30 p.m."
What was not expected was that Deputy Coroner Michael B. DeFatta would turn down the position.
"After long deliberation and conferring with my family, I must respectfully decline to accept the post," he wrote. DeFatta said that he would remain as Chief Deputy Coroner, a position he says he has held for 13 years.
The Secretary of State's office said the first resignaton letter sent by Dr. Galvan was not properly notarized so that a second letter would have to be sent to make it official.
Galvan officially pleaded not guilty to the charge of conspiracy in front of a magistrate judge earlier this week.
The bill of information says Galvan used taxpayer money for meals, boat accessories and other personal perks. Federal prosecutors contend he collected $111,376 in sick leave he wasn't entitled to, and they allege that St. Tammany Parish lost $50,000 when Galvan used a coroner's office employee, during coroner's hours, to work on his own side deal providing medical services at the Slidell jail. (See the bill of information)