The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
PITTSBURGH, Pa. — A state audit of the Baldwin Borough Volunteer Firefighters' Relief Association found more than $13,000 in spending that could not be explained.
The audit spanned Jan. 1, 2010, to Dec. 31, 2013, and showed that the association could not document $13,358 in expenses.
“Without the necessary paperwork, there is no way of knowing if the money was used properly,” state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said Tuesday.
The association was under scrutiny in 2012 when former fire Chief Leonard Novak and Assistant Chief Stephen Bonetti were charged with using $26,864 in association funds for their own benefit.
They forged checks and made fictitious invoices to try to cover up the theft, according to the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office.
“These men stole for their own selfish and petty gain,” DePasquale said. “They betrayed a public trust, and they should pay back every penny.”
Bonetti, 46, was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay $20,499 in restitution. Novak, 51, was sentenced to seven years of probation and ordered to pay $24,580 in restitution.
The audit found that the association failed to keep adequate minutes of meetings.
DePasquale said the association and borough officials seem to be moving in the right direction.
The association's new leadership agreed to the audit's recommendations to better safeguard taxpayer money, DePasquale said.
As of Dec. 31, 2013, the association had a cash balance of $293,452 and an investment balance of $10,907. It received more than $480,000 in state aid from 2010 to 2013.
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