A firefighter in Covington came forward, and for two hours Monday, laid out more than a dozen allegations of sexual misconduct, intimidation and theft against embattled fire chief Stephen Krentel.
Krentel, the husband of a woman found shot and burned in their Abita Springs home, says the allegations are baseless. The civil service board, however, now says a full investigation is warranted.
"It’s been ongoing for sometime and continues," said firefighter Tom Williamson.
The most serious allegations against Krentel involve the theft of two air-conditioning units and a general threat of intimidation inside Fire District 12.
"I’m not here alone," Williamson said. "Morale is bad. He’s got a threatening behavior, and he has a past of this kind of behavior."
Williamson also alleged that a bullet was left outside his vehicle to send a message.
"I spoke to (St. Tammany District Attorney Warren) Montgomery," Williamson said. "I said I feel the bullet was a sign of intimidation. He said rightfully so."
Chief Krentel sat right next to the firefighter issuing the complaints and afterword said the allegations were meritless.
"All of these allegations are false," he said. "I have the documentation to prove it. I can’t wait till the day I can present it."
In the end, the civil service board approved a motion ordering the fire district board to investigate the allegations.
"They felt the board of commissioners sits at the top of the employees and it’s incumbent on them to impose discipline," said civil service board attorney Henry Olinde.
Williamson's attorney believes the process going forward could be a lengthy one.
The body of Krentel's wife, Nanette, was found with a gunshot wound in the couple's burned out home in July. No one has been charged in that case, but the St. Tammany sheriff has cleared Krentel of his wife's murder.