Questions for former fire chief in missing fire truck money
South Thomaston — Bank records show the last person known to possess the missing South Thomaston Fireman's Association money, totaling more than $14,000, was former Fire Chief Wayne A. Brown, according to town Administrative Assistant John Spear.
"I am shocked quite frankly," Spear said May 1. "He [Brown] told me to my face a couple weeks ago he knew nothing about it."
In March, the town contacted the Attorney General's Office for assistance on what to do about $10,000 missing from the South Thomaston Fireman's Association, which disbanded in 2005.
Investigating the matter, town officials have learned there were actually three accounts, instead of one, with $14,783 in funds that were to be put toward a new fire truck.
"Three accounts in the name of the South Thomaston Fireman's Association were closed out in response to an in-person request from Wayne A. Brown on July 15, 2010," Spear said in an email May 1. "A Camden National Bank treasurer's check, payable to the South Thomaston's Fireman's Association in the amount of $14,783.48, was issued to close the three accounts, and ...the check was endorsed by Wayne A. Brown and deposited with, or cashed by TD Bank on July 15, 2010."
Brown could not be reached for comment on this story.
"On April 30, 2014, I spoke to Wayne Brown to give him an opportunity to offer an explanation or comment before I publicly reported these recent developments to the select board," Spear continued. "When I spoke to Wayne, I told him about the documents I had obtained from Camden National Bank, which depict him withdrawing the funds in question on July 15, 2010. During our brief conversation Wayne offered no explanation as to why he emphatically told me a few weeks ago, in a face-to-face conversation, that he knew nothing at all about these funds. Wayne did not confirm nor deny that he withdrew the money on July 15, 2010."
Spear said he contacted the Attorney General's office to seek guidance in locating the money, which is still missing as far as he is concerned. It could be at TD Bank in an account or it could have been cashed, for all the town knows. He said contacting the AG's office did not suggest any crime had been committed or constitute a report of a crime at this point.
On April 23, Spear received notice from the AG's office that Detective James Gioia should be the one to receive any future correspondence on this matter.
TD Bank cannot divulge information about the accounts or records to the town since it is not a signatory on the account. The Fireman's Association was a separate entity from the town.
Spear said he does not know when this matter will be resolved. For the town, it could be quickly resolved if Brown turned the money over to the town, he said.
In March, South Thomaston voters approved buying a new fire truck worth up to $350,000.
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Daniel Dunkle is editor of The Courier-Gazette and news director for Courier Publications. He lives in Rockland with his wife, Christine, who also works for Courier Publications, and two children.
Dunkle has previously served as editor of The Republican Journal in Belfast. He has worked as a reporter and photographer in the Midcoast for 15 years.