Former fire chief accused of stealing $14K from department

money

Bangor Daily News

SOUTH THOMASTON, Maine — A town official says that a former fire chief withdrew more than $14,000 four years ago from now-defunct firemen’s association accounts and will not discuss what happened with that money.

South Thomaston Administrative Assistant John Spear said Thursday that he was given records two weeks ago from Camden National Bank which showed that on July 15, 2010, Wayne A. Brown closed out three South Thomaston Firemen’s Association bank accounts. The bank further stated that the check for $14,783 from the accounts was given to Brown who endorsed it and either deposited or cashed it at TD Bank that same day, Spear said. He said TD Bank would not give out information to him about the transaction.

Brown was a member of the firemen’s association until it disbanded in 2005 and was fire chief until he resigned in 2006.

Spear said that last month he forwarded the bank information to the Maine Attorney General’s Office and that he was contacted by Detective James Gioia, who said he is investigating the matter. Tim Feeley of the Attorney General’s Office said Thursday that the department was reviewing the matter but had no further comment.

The issue of what happened with the association’s money has been a topic in town for the past four years. The issue first arose publicly at a July 2010 selectmen’s meeting when the officials demanded that the money be turned over to the town by representatives of the association.

The association consisted of volunteer firefighters but was not a town department. The selectmen, however, have maintained that when the group disbanded the money belonged to the town.

Spear said the issue came to a head this year because the town is planning to buy a new truck and wants that money to help pay for it.

Spear said he simply wants the money to help pay for a new fire truck approved by voters at the March town meeting this year. At that meeting, Brown argued against the town buying the truck.

Contacted by telephone Thursday, Brown said he does not know whether he withdrew the money from the account in 2010. When asked again why he wouldn’t know if he had or not, he said he had no comment.

Brown did add, however, that the town was in error when it disbanded the association. He also questioned what right the town had to get records of the association bank accounts.

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