As federal investigators continue their probe of the Mahopac Volunteer Fire Department’s losses of up to $5 million, financial statements show a $1.4 million spending spree on new equipment from 2012-14 that a top fire official says may not have all gone for purchases.
The department’s 2014 financial statement indicates it spent $614,000 on new equipment and apparatus that year. But department Vice Chairman Edward Scott recalled that the biggest purchase in 2014 was a $175,000 ambulance.
In 2013, the department spent $273,000 on equipment. Scott said he believed it bought a new Chevrolet Suburban for the chief, at a cost of about $50,000.
He said records of the purchases were in the hands of state and federal investigators, so details were not available.
“It appears we might not have accurate figures there,” Scott said. “That’s one of the things being looked at in the investigation.”
As the fire department probe proceeds, increasing attention has focused on fire services in Carmel, Putnam County’s largest town, with 34,000 residents. The municipality has four volunteer fire departments in four taxing districts that provide fire service over 40 square miles. The other departments are Carmel, Mahopac Falls and Croton Falls. Carmel taxpayers will pay $3.5 million to the volunteer companies in 2016.
Revelations about Mahopac fire finances come as federal investigators pore over financial records of the MVFD and the Patterson Fire Department to determine who was responsible for what town officials have said are financial irregularities that have led to millions of dollars in losses.
The investigation of the MVPD began in September, three months after the department submitted its 2014 annual financial statement to the Carmel Town Board.
Since then, the department’s treasurer, Michael Klein, has resigned. Klein’s business, Buckshollow Emergency Equipment Corp., also sold gear to the department for several years. But the department has declined to release invoices from Buckshollow, saying they were turned over to state and federal investigators.
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