SOUTH THOMASTON, Maine — The former South Thomaston fire chief has returned nearly $15,000 to the town after being ordered by a judge in February to account for funds that went missing a decade ago from the local firemen’s association.
South Thomaston Town Administrator Terri-Lynn Baines confirmed Wednesday that the town had received four checks totaling $14,914.79 from Former Fire Chief Wayne Brown and former firefighter Colin Grierson.
Attorney Walter McKee, who represented Brown and Grierson, said, “with this payment we (Brown, Grierson and the town) have agreed there will be no further litigation.
“Wayne and Colin did not necessarily agree with the (judge’s) decision, but they will certainly honor it,” McKee said Wednesday.
Attorney James Strong, who represented the town in this case, confirmed Wednesday that the town would not pursue the case any further.
In the civil suit, which was filed by the town in early 2015, Justice William Stokes ordered Brown and Grierson in February of this year to account for the whereabouts of missing South Thomaston Firemen’s Association funds, which supposedly had been allocated to purchase a new fire truck for the town before the association dissolved in 2007.
Three of the four checks given to the town since February were from the Weskeag Retired Firemen’s Association, Baines said. That association reportedly was created and used by Brown to open a new account at TD Bank after the South Thomaston firemen’s association disbanded, according to court records. Grierson also was listed as an authorized signatory on the new account.
The last check, worth $1,977.50, was from Brown, Baines said.
The South Thomaston Firemen’s Association, formed by Brown a quarter of a century ago, worked alongside the municipal fire department and helped to fundraise by hosting local community events. In the event that the association ever disbanded, all the money was to be turned over and managed by the town to be used by the fire department, according to Stokes’ ruling.
Once the association was disbanded, the town Board of Selectmen began taking steps to collect the leftover funds.
Grierson told the selectmen that the leftover money would be used to purchase a Class A pumper fire truck. After that purchase, the funds would be turned over to the town, Grierson said, according to the court document.
Those funds were never transferred to the town. John Spear, former administrative assistant for the town, followed up with Grierson in 2014, who said he did not know where the money had gone.
Spear began sifting through the association’s past bank records and discovered that on July 15, 2010, Brown had closed an association account at Camden National Bank that had $14,783.48 in it. Grierson’s name also was on the account.
“That same day, Wayne Brown opened an account at TD Bank” under the name Weskeag Retired Firemen’s Association and Grierson was listed as an authorized signatory, according to the ruling.
The town repeatedly attempted to find out what happened to the funds after that and eventually filed a lawsuit in 2015, citing five counts of wrongdoing against Brown and Grierson. The attorney general’s office intervened in the case in March 2016 and cited three counts of wrongdoing by Brown and Grierson, including breach of fiduciary responsibility and misallocation of charitable funds.
The town has since purchased the Class A pumper fire truck, the cost of which would have been defrayed by the missing $15,000. The four checks, which was deposited Wednesday, pending approval from the Board of Selectmen, will likely be used to reimburse the town for the purchase of the fire truck, Baines said.
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