HUDSON, Mass. — An investigation found that thousands of dollars are missing from a firefighters relief fund, and firefighters believe their former chief is to blame.
WCVB5 reported that $60,000 was found to be missing from the Hudson Firefighters Relief Association Fund according to an investigation sparked by a police report, which referenced missing money.
Members of the association said the fund, which was started in 1998 to provide help to firefighters in times of need, had more than $60,000 in it in 2001, but the money has drained since then and they can’t figure out where it went.
Firefighters told Channel 5 investigators that they believe former Hudson Fire Department Chief John Blood took the money.
“The fire service is unique when compared to the rest of public organizations,” Hudson Firefighters Local 1713 said in a Facebook post. “We are family. We spend more time with one another than our families. We spend Christmas and Thanksgivings with each other … and we call each other ‘brother and sister.’ We have an inherently dangerous job that we do with a smile on our face knowing that our ‘brothers and sisters’ are right next to use while helping people in need facing these dangers. We trust each other unconditionally. This only scratches the surface of the pride a firefighter feels every day. Sadly, a person who was sworn to lead us violated this sacred trust. Our members feel categorically angry and betrayed.”
Blood, who was placed on administrative leave in March and later resigned, was the treasurer of the association and was the only person who had access to the money.
An investigation also found that Blood made dozens of credit card purchases and charged them to the city, but city officials said he was never given permission to do so.
“Hudson thoroughly investigates any and all irregularities when warranted and takes appropriate action to protect the assets of the town,” a statement from the city said, according to Metro West Daily News. “Furthermore, town leadership discusses any issues that do arise and seeks and receives legal advice on such matters. The town is committed to work with both internal and external law enforcement agencies to understand and prosecute crimes when they occur.”
A police report said the “funds were drained by December 2010” and therefore “there is no way to charge John Blood with the thefts” due to statute of limitations.