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, Imust 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)

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