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Two-Hatter Under Investigation

THE LADUE, MISSOURI, FIRE CHIEF, Eric Hinson resigned his position this past Friday after just over one year on the job.  Hinson, 43, had worked for the Ladue FD for 19 years and advised the city officials on August 24 that he intended to retire in two weeks (Sept. 7).  He gave no explanation or reason for his decision.

Eric Hinson

However, it was disclosed this past Tuesday that Hinson is under investigation for financial irregularities involving his volunteer career at the St. Clair Fire Protection District.  When he was promoted to Ladue Fire Chief, Hinson resigned from the St. Clair FPD where he had been a member for 25 years, most recently serving as Treasurer from April 1997 to January 2011.  Following his resignation as treasurer, the St. Clair FPD hired a private accounting firm to audit the financial records of the department.

The Missourian reports:

During the Sept. 28, 2011, fire board meeting, the directors again voted to go into executive session "to discuss personnel matters." When the meeting returned to open session, Berkel read Hinson's letter of resignation, which unanimously was accepted by the board.

In January of this year, St. Clair Police Chief Bill Hammack and Berkel both confirmed the investigation to The Missourian, but would provide little additional information, including the names of any individuals potentially involved. They did say the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation were involved.

"We are going through and looking into irregularities in financials of the fire district," Berkel said in January. "These occurred from 2011 and before. We're going through some questionable transactions."

(This past Tuesday) a statement read by St. Clair Fire Protection District board of directors treasurer Dave Berkel has linked former Fire Chief Eric Hinson to the ongoing investigation into the local department's financial irregularities.

Berkel read the statement making the connection during a fire board meeting Tuesday night.

"We received a check from VFIS/Glatfelter Claim Service for $100,000, and it has been deposited in our account," Berkel said in reading the statement at St. Clair Fire House 1 on North Street. "This check is due to an ongoing investigation concerning Eric R. Hinson about his duties with the St. Clair Fire Protection District as board treasurer."

KMOV-TV Ch. 4 St. Louis filed this video report Wednesday:


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