State Audit: Improper spending of Solon Fire Department funds - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

State Audit: Improper spending of Solon Fire Department funds

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Tens of thousands of dollars were misused by an eastern Iowa fire department, according to a state audit.

State Auditor Mary Mosiman released a lengthy report Tuesday, revealing $67,557.54 of funds were improperly handled by the Solon Volunteer Fire Department for more than three years.

“Sometimes mistakes happen,” says Solon resident Patty O'Brien. “Hard for me to believe they really misused them, I don't think they have. I think there's probably some mistake somewhere.”

O'Brien has lived in Solon for more than 30 years.

“I think they do so much they don't get the credit they deserve,” says O'Brien.

Marvin Stastny served as a firefighter in Solon for 50 years.

“Most of this money that they're talking about, I feel is money that was given to the Solon Fire Department Benevolent Association for the service that we do,"  said Stastny

After interviewing many people including the former fire chief and reviewing documents, the audit identified more than $67,000 of  “improper and unsupported” spending from January 2011 to May 2014.

In addition, nearly $1,500, according to the report, was spent on “stag parties, alcohol, gift cards,” among other unsupported spending.

“Yes there is some alcohol, there is beer there,” says Stastny. “And after a fire or whatever, if the guys want to have a beer, sit down, cool off talk about the situation where they were at, that's available.”

The city held a meeting Wednesday night to discuss the findings of the audit.

The state auditor also found about $1,200 not deposited to the bank and some records couldn't be found.

“The firefighters are working with the State Auditor's Office, the Solon City Council and the Township Trustees to determine the best course of action and to improve the operations of the department,” says current fire chief Bob Siddell in a statement. “The firefighters believe confidently that on no occurrence were tax funds used inappropriately.”

Regardless of the findings people in Solon are saying they support their fire Department.

To see the full State Auditor report CLICK HERE.

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