I want to talk about the $32,500 dollars misappropriated from the Economic Community Development Department back in March 2007. This money was loaned to Atlantic Commercial Cleaners and handed to Mr. Daniel Feeney upon his termination of employment from the Town of Lisbon. During this time frame, Councilman Dale Crafts was working with Mr. Daniel Feeney overseeing the Economic Community Development Department. Once Mr. Feeney left Councilman Crafts acted as the “unofficial” Director of this department until Mrs. Jennifer Norris arrived in July 29, 2008. Councilman Crafts briefed Mrs. Norris on the status of this department and continued to oversee Mrs. Norris.
However, once Mrs. Norris identified the transaction to Atlantic Commercial Cleaners was bogus everything changed. The Interim Town Manager David T. Brooks also the Chief of Police began an investigation into the misappropriation of this taxpayer’s money.
According to the records, after Chief Brooks completed his thorough investigation, the Chief turned all the evidence over to the Androscoggin County District Attorney who prepared charges against Mr. Feeney.
However, prior to the case going to trial, the District Attorney dismissed all charges against Mr. Feeney for lack of evidence. Apparently, Chief Brooks had not conducted a thorough investigation after all.
This was also the feeling of Brian McMasters, state Attorney General’s Office. It is truly amazing our own Chief of Police would be conducting an investigation into actions which occurred during his watch as Interim Town Manager. I would think this would be a conflict of interest to say the least. If the misappropriation is taken place under your nose then you might not be the best person to investigate the incident.
Mr. Tom Marjerison, attorney for Mr. Feeney, interpreted the dropped indictment as a clear indication of his client’s innocence. Mr. Marjerison went on to say “They realized the Lisbon Police didn’t do a thorough job in the investigation, and my client did not engage in the conduct they allege.” According to Mrs. Norris, “That $32,500 that I found was nothing compared to what was actually going on there,” she said, pegging the sum involved at “hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
I have been looking into the case for several months and I cannot find out where Councilman Dale Crafts was even questioned about this missing $32,500.
In this day and age, I cannot understand how $32,500 of taxpayer’s dollars can come up missing and an investigation cannot determine who took it and be able to recover the funds. There is an old saying “follow the money”. It is very clear there is someone covering up vital information and the involvement of additional personnel other than Mr. Feeney. I have asked Chief Brooks for a copy of the investigation since it is closed and Brooks refused to provide me any information. I wonder why that is?
I do not know if the people of Lisbon will ever know what happened to this money and who actually was involved but it is very clear by the comments Mr. Marjerison; the dismissal of charges by the Androscoggin County District Attorney and the letter from Brian McMasters’ stating insufficient evidence to pursue the case that the investigation was NOT conducted properly or completely.