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Clear Spring fire company faces fines

August 21, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

CLEAR SPRING - Clear Spring Volunteer Fire Co. has been fined for allegedly mishandling its bingo and tip jar fundraising, according to company president Ronald Poole.

The fines are the result of an audit of the fire company's financial records. Poole said the company was not ready to release details of the sanctions.

Poole said he received information about the fines, but only he and the company's lawyer have that information. Details will be made public once officials know how they will proceed, he said.

"We're going to see what we're going to do on these fines and stuff we have," Poole said. "Basically, we're just at a standstill right now."

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Poole said he believes the company might lose its wholesale license, which allows it to operate tip jars.

"That's one place they made a lot of mistakes," he said. "Nothing was done in bingo that they can find anything."

An investigation by the Washington County Gaming Office and Maryland State Police began in May. Poole said the results of the investigation might be known soon.

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.

Poole said the company's lawyer is working to make sure the company is allowed to continue using bingo to raise funds.

"(The lawyer) talked to the gaming commission and representatives from the county and were trying to see how far they could go, but said we're most likely going to lose the wholesale (license) period," he said.

That decision would be made by the Gaming Office, Poole said.

Poole said the company will likely begin holding bingo again in September.

"We're going to try to make sure we have our license," he said.

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