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Atlantic City Mayor Robert Levy Resigns After Disappearing From Public Eye

The mayor of Atlantic City has handed in his resignation, after he vanished for two weeks amid allegations that he lied about his military service and illegally collected veterans' benefits, his attorney said Wednesday.

Levy's departure is effective immediately, according to lawyer Edwin Jacobs. The missing mayor resurfaced Tuesday after returning home from a stay at a psychiatric and substance abuse center.

In a statement Wednesday, Jacobs cited "multiple health problems" as a factor in Levy's resignation, but did not provide further details on the nature of his client's condition.

Levy has been under federal investigation for embellishing his Army service in Vietnam.

"The circumstances surrounding his resignation include multiple health problems, but were precipitated by a pending Federal Department of Veterans Affairs investigation," Jacobs said.

Last fall, the Press of Atlantic City reported that the Vietnam veteran's claims that he was a member of the Green Berets were untrue. He apologized, but federal authorities have been looking into whether the 64-year-old Levy made that claim to increase his veterans' benefit payments.

Jacobs said in the statement that the mayor was in discussions with the U.S. Attorney's office about resolving the investigation in a "fair and expeditious" way. Levy allegedly took in about $25,000 in extra benefits payments as a result of the falsification.

No part of the investigation includes allegations of Levy's abuse of his position as mayor, his lawyer said.

Levy served in the United States Army for 20 years, from 1964-1984, completing two tours of duty in Vietnam, according to Jacobs. He received multiple medals, awards and citations for his service.

"The pending investigation has called into question two of those awards, neither of which appear to be supported by an appropriate military order," said Jacobs.

Members of the city council had asked a judge to declare the mayor's office vacant and clear the way for the council president William "Speedy" Marsh to take over as interim mayor.

The councilman met with his lawyer Tuesday and prepared to take office "immediately" should Levy's office become vacant, said Marsh's Atlantic City attorney James J. Leonard Jr.

Levy — who was missing for almost two weeks — was at home after leaving a Somerset County clinic known for treatment of substance abuse and mental health issues, according his lawyer.

Tuesday's revelation about Levy's whereabouts 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 Marsh to step in.

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," the facility says on its site. "Treatment teams consist of a psychiatrist, psychiatric nurse, licensed clinical social workers, allied clinical therapists and certified addiction counselors."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.