Coventry gets its checks back

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copyright the Chronicle July 26, 2017

 

by Elizabeth Trail

 

NEWPORT — In a ten-minute hearing on Monday, Orleans Superior Court Judge Robert Bent ordered a local bank to return about $5,100 in town money that former Coventry Town Clerk and Treasurer Cynthia Diaz deposited in an account she opened on June 14.

“We have our money back,” Coventry Select Board Chair Mike Marcotte said by phone on Tuesday.

Community National Bank, which is also where the town of Coventry keeps its money, froze the funds as soon as they were deposited and notified the select board.

But bank officials couldn’t return the money to the town without a court order.

On July 7, attorney Paul Gillies, who is representing the town in its ongoing civil suit against Ms. Diaz, filed a motion with the Orleans Superior Court’s Civil Division.

In the motion, Mr. Gillies says that Ms. Diaz opened an account called the “Cynthia Diaz tax escrow account” on June 14. She deposited three checks.

The checks were written by former town attorney Bill Davies from the town’s tax escrow account, which he maintained until earlier this year.

They were payable to “Cynthia Diaz, Treasurer.”

“Ms. Diaz’ actions were unauthorized, as she was no longer holding town office at the time she deposited the checks,” the town’s motion says. “Her creation of a new fund was in violation of the statute that requires agreement with the select board for any investments.”

The motion goes on to explain that Ms. Diaz’ positions as town clerk and treasurer were vacated under state statute on June 9, after she was unable to raise the bond required of all public officials.

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