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Fire department bingo failures cited in audit

By Joe Beck -- jbeck@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- A state audit of the Shenandoah Farms Volunteer Fire Department bingo operations for 2010 lists nine record-keeping failings and ordered the organization to take seven corrective actions.

The five-page audit, obtained Thursday from the Office of Charitable Gaming at the request of The Northern Virginian Daily, echoes some criticisms contained in another, more sweeping audit conducted around the same time by a certified public account hired by Warren County officials. The state audit was conducted in May, and the county's third-party audit ran from late May to mid-June.

A few months earlier, $1,000 to $2,000 was discovered missing from a safe containing bingo money. The money was never recovered.

"The auditor notes that the organization's internal controls for surrounding inventory is weak," the Office of Charitable Gaming stated in a sentence that was bold-faced. The list of corrective actions includes:

• An order that reconciled bank balances agree with each other.
• An accurate and complete check register be maintained.
• All checks be accounted for in the check register, including each check's date, number, amount, payee name and the purpose for each listed payment.

The state audit blamed a $938 imbalance in the bingo operation's annual financial report on "failure to properly maintain and account for their bingo game session cash on hand."

The audit also said the fire department "did not report all game session disbursements on the financial reports. The auditor also noted that the organization reported an incorrect beginning gaming bank account balance."

The audit, which was addressed to Don Hoover, president of the Shenandoah Farms board of directors, includes a space for him to sign the audit to acknowledge agreement with the audit's findings and a willingness to execute the seven remedial actions listed.

State officials were unavailable to discuss whether the fire department had complied.

Reached by telephone Thursday, Hoover said he "would have to refresh my memory on [the audit] to see if I have anything to say about it."

"I wouldn't want to comment until I have a chance to look at it" he added.

The board of directors has contended that earlier evidence of financial mismanagement and probable fraud at the department stemmed from the actions of an earlier board with a mostly different membership. Hoover and other members of the current board have strenuously argued that they have been working hard to improve the department's financial mismanagement and solve other problems.

Suzanne "Suni" Perka, the Clarke County commonwealth's attorney, decided in late September she lacked enough evidence to file criminal charges against anyone in the department. Perka issued her findings after she and state police conducted a follow-up investigation to Warren County's third-party audit.

Although she filed no charges, Perka criticized the department for shoddy financial management.

The state audit accuses the fire department of failing to meet a requirement that at least 10 percent of bingo games' disbursements go to charity. The audit said Shenandoah Farms "failed to make charitable contributions during ... 2010."

In another section of the audit, the department was found to have "failed to utilize $4,700 for charitable purposes during the gaming year. The organization reported that they paid out more in prizes than collected in bingo receipts. Their reported payout was 123 percent of receipts."

The audit reports that Shenandoah Farms treasurer Judy Moriarty "stated that at bingo gaming start-up in September 2010, the organization did not structure payouts to reflect patron attendance. Therefore, gaming sessions had not been profitable."

Moriarty could not be reached for comment.

After faulting Shenandoah Farms for failing to account for paper purchases, the audit demanded the fire department "verify and compare inventory purchases received from their supplier with the supplier's invoice."

The audit also required the fire department to schedule game management training with the Office of Charitable Gaming's training coordinator.


When will everyone realize that the days of the volunteer buckets brigades has long past us by? Fire and Rescue has become a profession just as law enforcement became two centuries ago. Citizens don't expect rag-tag half training volunteers responding to a shots fired call. So why would we expect this with someone has to cut a loved one out of a vehicle? Don't get me wrong, there are some very good and dedicated volunteers out there. But those are the exceptions, not the rule.

First off Sword in this county there is not enough money to pay for someone to be on every call that goes out. And as you call rag-tag half trained volunteers. They have the same Fire fighter classes as the paid personal and they train and put thier hearts into it as the paid staff in this county. Just because you have gotten some bad apples in a bunch does not mean that the whole county is bad. I know both paid and volunteers in this county. I also know that when a call goes out everyone that shows up puts 110% in to that call. I have to call them for my house a few times and we have had both here and one knows just as much as the other.

So ask yourself if your house is on fire are you going to stop them at the trucks and ask are you paid or volunteer? The day you need CPR will you care if they are paid or volunteer? I can tell you just 2 days ago when my child was not able to breath and was having allergic reaction I didn't care. I knew they were trained to do what they were there to do.

This is not about the training this about someone not taking care of the fire department business and they need someone in there to do the right way and the leagal. They do need to find out what is going on with the money but this has nothing to do with if they know how to respond to a call

In a band of brothers fantasy world, "all for one, one for all" has a nice ring to it. The real world of Shenandoah Farms is different because:

, Somebody stole some money.
, Somebody stole some scuba gear.
, Somebody jiggled the books.
, Somebody stole some equipment.
, Somebody betrayed the public's trust.
, Somebody knows what's going on.
, Somebody needs to blow the whistle.

Until somebody does the right thing, I'm painting the whole bunch with the same brush.

Do I care if a thief gives me CPR? Of course not.

Do I care if a thief gives me CPR and lifts my wallet? I care if I live.

"Somebody needs to blow the whistle."????? Yeah... and get their house and car shot up. The criminality in this bunch is so ingrained that at least some (maybe all) of them can't recognize criminal activity when they see it or participate in in. Does this render them innocent? Not by a long "shot"... hahaha pun intended. Have you noticed how many people get paraded around in our community as "fine" people, and then - hey- scratch the surface and you find a convicted felon out on "supervised" (what supervision, may I ask?) probation, with a 20-year criminal history and ready, no, lemme say it right, can't wait to commit another felony? These people get off on committing crimes, jumping in and out of the criminal justice system at taxpayers' expense... it's the only excitement they can get in their lives... except maybe playing bingo (hahahahaha). That bingo racket needs to get shut down permanently. These people are beyond rehabilitation or control by a paid bookkeeper (dream on!). Ah'm just waiting to hear that throwback rallying cry "Lemme make it right!" yet another time. If Shenandoah Farms can afford a Sanitary District (set after questionnable no-bid contracts by the Property Owners' Association), we can all afford a paid, accountable fire department. Raise my taxes, quadruple 'em... you don't have to choose between a criminal saving your life and a normal person saving your life... most other jurisdictions don't.

Boo Bird - Don't sell your family short... You are entitled to expect that a normal person will come to help you and you family. You don't have to think you need to accept that all you can count on is a twisted sociopath who doesn't understand the "money business." You and your family deserve more. You deserve the best, and you and your family, associated with all the other Shenandoah Farms residents and homeowners,- guess what - you can afford the best. Don't be intimidate by other people (God bless them, and my deep respect for them) having got their house and car shot up. You deserve the best, and in community with all your neighbors there in Shenandoah Farms, you can afford the best. Go for it!!!!!

I had hoped when these issues were reported that the [all volunteers] attitude would not surface. But as normal we can't look at things that way and now we have people stating " When will everyone realize that the days of the volunteer buckets brigades has long past us by? Fire and Rescue has become a profession just as law enforcement became two centuries ago. Citizens don't expect rag-tag half training volunteers responding to a shots fired call. So why would we expect this with someone has to cut a loved one out of a vehicle? Don't get me wrong, there are some very good and dedicated volunteers out there. But those are the exceptions, not the rule." Trust me you have very good paid and volunteer, very bad paid and volunteer, and fair paid and volunteer fire/EMS providers. So, please do not put all in the same pile. If the citizens of Warren County had to pay for all the Fire/EMS services, stations, equipment, training and staff you would be upset and raising a stink for the huge tax increase. So seeing you can assist these volunteers, paid staff, county gov and your neighbors with your time, please go to your local volunteer fire station and sign up and become a part of the solution. I am on my way and hope to see you .

Well good luck working constructively with people who resort to threats and intimidation - mebbe even shooting a bb gun - when they're crossed. Get ready to have to "go along" with substandard practices if you want to "get along" and don't want your house and vehicles shot up.

Golf, finally someone can comment with a voice of moderation and reason. Most everyone else is commenting with vile and unreasonable words bordering on hatred. As you say there are good, bad and ugly in any
profession including doctors, lawyers and Indian chiefs.
I don't understand how most posters are convicting the fire co. for the shooting when nothing official has connected them to the incident. It was only a theory put forth by a Clarke county deputy. No one in the fire co. even knew about the shooting until after the audit report came out. There was no community buzz about a shooting when it allegedly happened. Thanks again for your reasoned reply.

Josea, you really need to find a new schtick besides "lemme make it right" You've worn that one to a frazzle. You keep talking about people in the volunteer system as being felons with a "20-year" criminal history. Let me repeat; Anyone who applies to a County fire co. for admission must pass a background check done by the sheriff's office. To call a responding fireman or EMT a "sociopath" is bordering on hate speech.

You're blowing smoke if you think anyone would stand for their taxes being quadrupled or even doubled!!!! Be reasonable, yes it would be nice to have a couple of paid staff at the station during the day but that's not in the budget yet. Luckily there are a couple of guys who work at night and are available for calls during the day. They run calls between naps trying to get their rest.

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