ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Mayor Robert Levy, who's been missing for almost two weeks, is at home after leaving a Somerset County clinic known for treatment of substance abuse and mental health issues, his lawyer said Tuesday.
The revelation from attorney Edwin Jacobs came after a brief conference with a state judge who scheduled a Friday hearing to discuss a request by a city councilman to declare that the mayor had abandoned his office. Such a declaration would clear the way for the council president to take over as interim mayor.
The lawyer's comments about the mayor's whereabouts were reported Tuesday afternoon by The Press of Atlantic City, CBS3.com in Philadelphia, and WMGM-TV Channel 40 in Atlantic City.
Jacobs did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
Levy's lawyer told reporters the mayor checked himself into the Carrier Clinic in Belle Mead on either Sept. 26 or 27. The mayor was last seen in public on Sept. 26 when he signed several ordinances at City Hall.
That was the same day city officials said the mayor told them he did not feel well, and would be absent for an unspecified time on medical leave.
Jacobs said the mayor has been home from the clinic since Thursday, but would not say what he was treated for. A phone message left at Levy's home was not returned.
According to the clinic's Web site, the facility "is a private, not-for-profit behavioral health care system founded in 1910 that specializes in psychiatric and addiction treatment."
"At Carrier, hospital stays tend to be brief, with the goal of crisis intervention, medical stabilization and transition to the next appropriate level of care. Treatment teams consist of a psychiatrist, psychiatric nurse, licensed clinical social workers, allied clinical therapists and certified addiction counselors," according to their Web site.
Last fall, The Press of Atlantic City investigated Levy's accounts of his wartime service and used military records to verify that Levy was a 20-year Army veteran with two Bronze Stars and two tours of duty in Vietnam. But the newspaper found he was not a member of the storied Green Berets, as he had claimed.
Shortly afterward, Levy admitted misrepresenting his record.
But now, the U.S. Attorney's Office is investigating whether Levy's embellishment of his Vietnam War record illegally fattened veteran's benefit payments he received.
Gov. Corzine Tuesday weighed in on the controversy: "It's time to clean up this situation. It needs to be brought to a conclusion."
Councilman William "Speedy" Marsh met with his lawyer Tuesday and prepared to take office "immediately" should Levy's office become vacant, James Leonard, Marsh's private attorney, said.
Leonard, Marsh's private attorney, said he believes Levy's resignation is "imminent."
"There's nothing in play that suggests that Levy is going to return," he said. "We are preparing for a smooth, swift and immediate transition that will allow Mr. Marsh to take over as mayor. There is a plan in place."
Levy's wife, Hazel, who also works at City Hall, said Tuesday she does not know whether the mayor plans to resign, and declined further comment.
City Business Administrator Domenic Cappella, who is serving as acting mayor in Levy's absence, did not immediately return a call seeking comment Tuesday, and mayoral spokesman Nick Morici said he does not know what Levy's plans are.