Questionable Activities Continue Despite Investigations
THE UNIONDALE FIRE DISTRICT in Nassau County, New York, is currently being investigated by the county's District Attorney as well as the NY State Comptroller's Office for dubious spending practices. Even though they are well aware of the investigations, the members are seemingly flaunting the authorities by continuing the activities that got the authorities' attention in the first place.
WNBC-TV's investigative reporting team decided to take a look for themselves and easily found a volunteer member using FD truck and lawn mowing equipment to cut the grass of an unidentified private owner's home.
Channel 4 reported:
Several members of the fire district’s Board of Commissioners acknowledged other kinds of misappropriation are under investigation too — not only by criminal authorities, but also by the New York State Comptroller’s Office. The Nassau County District Attorney’s Office and the New York State Comptroller’s Office both declined comment.
Last month, individual members of the Uniondale Fire District Board of Commissioners turned in their district credit cards and voted to strip Commissioner Noel Thomas, a former chief of the department, of his spending authority.
According to documents obtained by the I-Team through a Freedom of Information request, Thomas charged at least six trips to fire conventions in just twelve months during 2011 and 2012. Thousands of dollars in hotel and travel expenses were spent on conferences in Atlanta, Orlando, Las Vegas, Baltimore, Las Vegas again, and upstate New York.
Records also show Thomas used his district credit card for a cash advance at a Las Vegas casino, although he later paid the money back. Thomas insisted the board’s decision to revoke his spending authority was politically motivated. "Nothing was stolen," Thomas said. "Nothing was put in anybody’s pocket."
There is concern about the many junkets around the country because there is no evidence that any of the members traveling on the taxpayers' dimes attended any instructional or beneficial classes or lectures.
WNBC summed it up in this video report:
If the video does not run, CLICK HERE to view it.
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