Being a taxpayer activist in NH for some twenty years gives one an extra layer of cynicism, or should I say perspective, on municipal mismanagement. Take for instance the Town of Litchfield where almost a year ago it was discovered that the treasurer may have diverted $5,000.00 to a phony contract for some, of all things, security materials.
I have a rule, developed through careful observation, that when you see a municipal, state, school, county employee, or elected official with the wherewithal to dummy up forms, invoices, bills, or contracts to hide illegal expenses – NEVER BELIEVE THE FIRST AMOUNT INVOLVED!
I have listed below some news articles that let observant taxpayers track what it going on so far, and how my rule works.
WMUR Channel 9 March 11, 2008
LITCHFIELD, N.H. -- The attorney general's investigation into Litchfield Treasurer Horace Seymour ended with his arrest Monday. Seymour, 49, is accused of stealing funds from the town he has served as the town treasurer since 2005. Investigators said Seymour filed a fictitious invoice for more than $5,000 for cameras at the town recreation center.
June 20, 2008 Press Release from NH AG’s Office
New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly A. Ayotte announces the indictment of Horace W. Seymour, III, age 50, of Litchfield, New Hampshire on two additional charges of class A felony theft. Seymour, who was elected Town Treasurer in 2005, was previously indicted in May on one count of Theft by Deception for stealing funds from the Town of Litchfield.
The additional theft indictments both charge Theft by Unauthorized Taking contrary to RSA 637:3. The first indictment alleges that between November 2005 and March 2008, Seymour purposely exercised unauthorized control over the property of the Town of Litchfield with a purpose to deprive the Town thereof. Specifically, the indictment charges Seymour with obtaining approximately $145,000 from checks issued to the Town of Litchfield and from the Town’s bank accounts.
Nashua Telegraph, Thursday, October 30, 2008
Litchfield treasurer and deputy quit
LITCHFIELD - Selectmen held an emergency meeting Wednesday to replace the town treasurer and his deputy.
Three articles, how do they add up?
First we catch the Litchfield Treasurer diverting $5,000.00. He is arrested and investigation into other accounts ensues.
Next we get a glimpse of a new figure, $145,000.00.
Then, the new people appointed to clean the mess up QUIT.
Having come this far, maybe its time for a challenge. How about I throw some numbers out and we guess what the final tally will be (Since we have come too far to make the theft go away.)
Let’s make it multiple choice for you beginners.
Do you think:
A. This was all a big mistake and nothing is missing.
B. $145,000.00 is the most a treasurer could steal without the elected officials in charge finding out. (hint: not likely)
C. The figure will be double or more of what we see so far.
D. The treasurer was suffering from Bi-polar disease and had no idea he had misplaced some $300,000.00 into phony accounts.
Have fun and welcome to New Hampshire Taxpayer 101.