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I-Team: More Than $600,000 Mishandled By Somerville Council On Aging

By Kathy Curran, WBZ-TV
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SOMERVILLE (CBS) – Hundreds of thousands of dollars for the elderly are mishandled and some of the money is unaccounted for in Somerville.

The i-Team first exposed possible mishandling of money and ethics violations by Somerville Council on Aging Director Cindy Hickey back in February. According to an audit ordered during our investigation, the Somerville Council on Aging funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars paid by senior citizens through the private non-profit, Future Friends of Somerville Council on Aging, without undergoing the scrutiny of the city auditor. This is a direct violation of Municipal Finance Laws.

WBZ-TV’s Kathy Curran reports

The audit also found 41 checks totaling more than $9,000 which may not be related to Council on Aging activities. The money was used for funeral arrangements, plants, flowers, gifts and even a down payment for an apartment.

Auditors say Laws were broken and money was misused. The council overcharged seniors for events such as monthly dinners with the council’s restaurant club, which resulted in a significant amount of unaccounted excess cash all being handled by the agencies director Cindy Hickey.

READ: The forensic audit report of Somerville’s Council on Aging

There’s still some question as to why two checks amounting to about $2,000 were cut to Cindy Hickey’s husband but auditors don’t believe anyone was personally enriched by the mishandling of the money. Hickey also violated state law by buying liquor for an event with public funds.

In a statement, the Mayor Joe Curtatone still stands by Cindy Hickey calling her a tremendous employee for the past 18 years. Hickey was placed on paid administrative leave for about six months during the audit. The Mayor says he’s happy to have Hickey back at the helm of the department.

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