N.J. prosecutor wants financial records for volunteer fire departments

The Associated Press
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Copyright 2007 The Fort Worth Star-Telegram

HACKENSACK, N.J. — The Bergen County prosecutor said he has demanded the financial records of 20 volunteer fire departments to determine how their money is raised and spent.

The subpoenas, delivered Monday, were motivated by allegations that seven members of the Grandview Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1 in Fairview used contributions to fund a four-day trip to Cancun, Mexico, in January.

Prosecutor John Molinelli said Fairview was not subpoenaed because he did not want to interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation.

The 20 departments were chosen to provide a representative cross-section of departments in the county - New Jersey's most populous - Molinelli told The Record of Bergen County in Tuesday's editions.

"We want all financial records in regards to all revenue received from all sources, expenditures, audits, oversight documentation and where the money is being spent," Molinelli told the newspaper. "If it's a conference that they went to, we want copy of checks and proof that they attended."

He declined to say which departments were served, but said the purpose of the investigation is not to bring indictments, but to produce a report, known as a grand jury presentment. Molinelli said no law governs funds raised by municipal-linked volunteer organizations.

Fairview Mayor Vincent Bellucci has promised to implement guidelines to ensure that public donations to quasi-public charities are spent properly.


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