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Fire Co. probe ongoing

June 30, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM and KAREN HANNA

CLEAR SPRING - Clear Spring Volunteer Fire Co. officials met with auditors Thursday afternoon for about an hour, but the investigation into the department's finances is not yet complete, company President Ronald Poole said.

"They had some papers and some questions they asked us, and that was to help them compile a report, which was in a draft stage, I think," Poole said.

Jim Hovis, director of the Washington County Gaming Office, said county and state officials were coming to the end of the investigation, which began last month amidst allegations of wrongdoing in the department's bingo and tip jar operations.

The meeting Thursday with Smith Elliott Kearns & Co., the company overseeing the audit, was private, Hovis said.

At meetings held throughout June within the fire company, it was revealed that some workers were being paid to organize and operate the department's bingo and tip jar fundraising operations.

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Though Poole had said he expected the auditors would reveal some of their findings during the meeting, he said Thursday night he could not divulge the details of what was discussed.

Poole said he expected the audit, which is being paid for the by the Washington County Commissioners, would be ready within a month, and the findings would be shared with the gaming office.

The fire company likely will not have bingo until after its carnival, which runs from July 31 through Aug. 5, Poole said.

"We'll have direction and should have direction, which way we should go," Poole said.

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