Report: Money missing from fire department

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Posted: Saturday, October 12, 2013 5:33 pm

Authorities are investigating a report of money missing from a local fire department.

McDowell County Finance Officer Allison Morgan filed a report with the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office on June 10 alleging an embezzlement at the Ashford-North Cove Volunteer Fire Department.

The McDowell News only learned of the report on Friday.

Morgan said she could not comment, but she did say N.C. Department of Insurance investigator Chet Effler was handling the case.

Effler had not returned a message from The McDowell News by deadline.

The fire department is funded by a fire tax of four cents per $100 valuation, generating $103,194 annually.

County Manager Chuck Abernathy said “the entities” investigating the allegations told county officials not to talk about it.

“We have been told to not say or comment on what is taking place,” Abernathy told The McDowell News on Friday.

Thomas Swofford was the Ashford-North Cove fire chief, but has been replaced. Jacob Leopold is currently the chief.