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By Jennifer McLogan
/ CBS New York
NORTH AMITYVILLE, N.Y. — A Long Island fire department, once , has now been linked to more than $500,000 of inappropriate purchases, allegedly including gold jewelry and trips to nude beaches.
Lavish personal spending with no oversight was part of the findings from a state comptroller’s audit of the North Amityville Fire Department.
“We had been given this information by people in the department who were very upset by the fact that they were there to save lives. They weren’t there to allow this kind of thing to go on,” said Babylon Town Supervisor Richard Schaffer.
A former chief and six of his board members allegedly raked in thousands in cash, flights, hotels, gifts, an Alaskan cruise, a trip to a clothing-optional Jamaican resort, diamond rings, and tickets to basketball games.
Angry residents said they deserve better.
“I’m a homeowner myself. So you don’t want to know someone is abusing taxpayers’ dollars,” one person said.
“Everyone’s on the dole and the tax money goes where it’s not supposed to,” another person said.
The fire department was shuttered for two months to clean house and bring on a brand new board of directors, according to the department’s attorney.
“We enacted procedures that create significant accountability, financial accountability and codes of ethics, so these types of things will never happen again,” said Brad Pinsky, the attorney for the North Amityville Fire Department.
“Number one goal right now is to just make sure that everyone’s safe in the community, make sure that we serve the community properly. No more expenditures for extravagant trips or anything like that,” said Rashada Delany, North Amityville’s new volunteer fire commissioner.
They tell us efforts are underway to rebuild the fire department’s reputation, membership is up and they are adding a junior firefighter program.
Schaffer said criminal probes and civil lawsuits are underway.
“Part of that will be a request for restitution so that the money can be restored to the taxpayers,” said Schaffer.
During her decades-long career, Jennifer McLogan has been recognized for her coverage of breaking news and live reporting on major stories that include the September 11 attacks, Superstorm Sandy, the Gilgo Beach Murders, the Long Island Rail Road massacre, the crash of TWA Flight 800, the Philadelphia Police firebombing of the radical group Move, the Hamptons’ Pine Barrens fires, and major snowstorms crippling the Northeast. In sports, she covered Super Bowl XLVI, World Series with both the Yankees and the Mets, NBA Finals with Michael Jordan and the death of Arthur Ashe.
First published on May 5, 2023 / 7:16 PM
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