ALLEN — Allen Volunteer Fire Department is picking up the pieces and moving forward, after questions were raised three months ago about questionable spending.
The Allen Volunteer Fire Department has undergone some significant changes following a Floyd County Times story in April which examined a series of invoices containing several items of questionable spending.
All total, The Times received copies of 13 invoices dated Feb. 2 to March 16, totaling $175,267.94. The invoices were all tied to Lawson Contracting Inc., a corporation located in Garrett and owned by Darren Lawson.
Since then, both Fire Chief Roy Compton and Assistant Chief Larry Castle have resigned, and a new tax board has been created.
On Thursday, new tax board Chairman Ella Clay said the board is beginning to get things under control. “We think we finally have our finances straightened out.”
Clay said money is tight, and the department will not receive any more tax money until December.
“We’re not spending on anything that is not a necessity,” said Clay.
According to Clay, State Auditor Adam Edelen is reviewing the station’s past spending. Stephenie Stitzer, communications director with Edelen’s office, said that the auditor’s office received a citizen complaint about questionable spending earlier this spring, and in June requested more information from the board. According to Stitzer the investigation is very preliminary at this point.
Lawson Contracting billed Allen Volunteer Fire Department, and was paid for a number of services, including $12,000 for poured concrete, $8,000 for the installation of 150 feet of guardrail, $3,000 to remove and replace a water heater, and then an additional $2,500 to re-plumb and rewire the water heater.
The Times reached out to Darren Lawson in April to ask him about invoices. Lawson told The Times he believed someone was out to destroy his business and he was planning to seek legal action.
The next scheduled Tax Board meeting for Allen Volunteer Fire Department is August 7, at 7 p.m.