SOUTH THOMASTON, Maine — A mediation session last week failed to result in a settlement of a lawsuit brought by the town against two former members of the fire department, including the ex-chief, over the disappearance of nearly $15,000 from a firefighter association fund.
“We were not able to resolve the matter, unfortunately. We will move forward with the litigation,” said attorney Walter McKee, who represents former South Thomaston Fire Chief Wayne Brown and former firefighter Colin Grierson.
The mediation session was held June 4.
The town filed the lawsuit in February against the two men, accusing them of unjustly enriching themselves with nearly $15,000 that reportedly had been earmarked to help pay for a new firetruck.
Brown and Grierson have denied any wrongdoing. No criminal charges have been filed.
A telephone message left Friday afternoon with the town’s attorney has not been returned.
The money in question had been in bank accounts controlled by the South Thomaston Firemen’s Association, according to the town’s lawsuit. The association voted in May 2007 to dissolve and have any money it had go to the town for the purchase of a firetruck, the suit states.
The town maintains that on July 15, 2010, Brown withdrew a total of $14,783 from the association’s accounts.
The town also referred the matter in April 2014 to the Maine attorney general’s office, but that office has not commented on whether a criminal investigation is underway or not.
Brown was a member of the firemen’s association until it disbanded. He was fire chief until 2006, when he resigned. Brown previously told the Bangor Daily News that he does not recall if he withdrew the money from the firemen’s association accounts. Grierson, who also was a member of the now defunct association, told the BDN last year that he does not know what happened to the money.
Local firefighters raised funds for the association in a variety of ways, such as by doing controlled burns of fields and catering meals for local events. The money was used for coffee and doughnuts for firefighters when they fought fires, but the overwhelming bulk was set aside to buy fire equipment.