Copenhagen fire official’s arrest raises more questions about department’s finances

Copenhagen fire department helmet.
Copenhagen fire department helmet.(Source: WWNY)
Published: Aug. 29, 2022 at 4:13 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

COPENHAGEN, New York (WWNY) - A second official with the Copenhagen Fire Department has been charged with stealing.

Neither case involved the fire department, but there are plenty of questions swirling around the department and its finances.

A lawyer representing the village is saying again: “show us your books.”

Over the weekend, we learned that state police arrested 60-year-old Terry Williams for allegedly stealing $40,000 of brass from Fort Drum where he was employed as a civilian. The arrest happened on August 9.

Village Attorney Candace Randall says Williams is the fire department’s vice president and he was one of two people who could sign fire department checks as late as last year.

The other was Nicole Bennett, who stole thousands of dollars from a Watertown law firm where she worked. In June, she pleaded guilty to fourth-degree grand larceny.

We already know an audit of the fire department’s books for the year 2020 showed $27,000 in payments with what the state comptroller called “inadequate documentation.”

Randall says the village has tried and tried to see the books from 2021, but the fire department isn’t giving.

Williams’ arrest comes as the fire department’s troubles deepen. Three towns that paid the department for fire protection are ending those contracts, costing thousands of dollars.

A message to the fire chief, TJ Williams, went unanswered Monday.

As for Terry Williams’ status within the fire department, Randall says that under the fire department’s bylaws he should be suspended until the matter is resolved.