Lebanon Township declines to pay ambulance squad's $57K deb

Peapack-Gladstone Bank is asking Lebanon Township to pay the local rescue squad’s $57,000 debt. The town says no way.
Lebanon Township First Aid Squad, an independent organization, has been at odds with the municipality for years.

But the dispute didn’t become public until last spring, when the township committee banned the squad from responding to emergencies. The squad took the township to court, where they’re still fighting over two ambulances.

Currently in the squad’s possession per court order, the rigs were pulled back and forth in a tug-of-war last summer.

In October, Peapack-Gladstone Bank sued the squad for failing to pay its loans. Now, the bank wants the township to make good on the debt.

“Our understanding is that the township has terminated the squad, and left the squad unable to repay its debts,” Finn Caspersen, general counsel for Peapack-Gladstone, wrote in a Nov. 15 letter. “The bank has not faced a situation like this before, and honestly, this has taken all of us aback.”

“Very respectfully, we ask that the township make good on the debts,” Caspersen said.

In a Nov. 23 reply, township attorney Philip George wrote: “The Township of Lebanon will not ‘make good’ on any debt of the squad to your bank. The Township of Lebanon did not render the squad unable to pay its debts.”

George accused the bank of not doing its “due dilligence” in investigating the financial status of the squad.

Ron Peles, the squad’s lawyer, said today, “The reason the squad has these financial problems is that the township brought them on ... The township committee’s not letting them respond to any calls.”


John said...

That's too bad but at the same time not surprising. It seems like many cities and fire departments have been mismanaging "the people's money" for decades. Now that we are in a recession, everyone is pointing the fingers and scrambling to find money to keep the lights on.

Don't get me wrong, most EMS and Fire Departments mean well but all agencies and municipal administrators need to get back to the basics of fiscal responsibility. Live within your means. Know how to use a balance sheet. If you want a new piece of apparatus, make sure the budget allows for it. It sounds as if there was some overspending in this instance and the "Townfolk" are fed up! Someone's getting fired!

Good read...thanks for posting.

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YouKilledMySquad said...

I hope the squad officers responsible for this debacle get what they deserve, jail time.
Go ask them why they couldn't produce audits of the books. As them, where did the money go?

YouKilledMySquad said...

The former officers of the squad should be ashamed of themselves for what they did. The prosecutor should be asking "where did the money go?"
Why couldn't they squad produce audits? Why was so much money spent on useless equipment, Command vehicles, alarm systems? Why wasn't the building maintained? Who benefited from those expenditures? Certainly not the people of Lebanon Township!