Tonawanda News — New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office audited Rescue Fire Company in North Tonawanda, finding $13,754 in money generated by the fire hall bar is missing and fire hall officials couldn’t produce receipts showing where the money went.
Though fire officials didn’t return messages seeking comment, the fire hall president, Larry Kuebler, wrote in response to the audit the money was likely spent as “gratuity to volunteer members who serve as bartenders.”
The company, which contracts with the city of North Tonawanda to provide fire protection services, operates a bar five days of the week for the department’s members. A four-member bar committee is supposed to oversee the bar’s financial operations.
The comptroller’s audit revealed $23,754 in cash from the department’s bar sales between January 2010 and January 2013 went unaccounted for.
Auditors discussed the issues with department representatives on Aug. 21, the report states. The fire department officials said that the bar committee chairman was able to account for about $10,000 of the missing money and comptroller officials reduced the amount of unaccounted funds to $13,754.
“Company officials told us that over the last several years, the bar committee chairman was able to divert cash from the cash register in the bar without their knowledge,” the report states. “Had someone other than a member of the bar committee compared the bar cash register tapes and the cash reports to the amount deposited, they may have determined that not all cash recorded as collected through the cash register was deposited, and taken corrective action to address the diversion of money.”
The comptroller’s office also said that bar tabs paid by cash and check are not always run through the register, and hall rentals are also paid at the bar — so the amount of unaccounted money is likely greater than the records can show.