Members of the Aldergrove Royal Canadian Legion were surprised Thursday night when provincial Legion officials announced their branch was being placed in trusteeship to look into financial irregularities.
“They said it could be a month to several months,” said Sindy Cooper, a member of the Branch #265 executive who organized special events and entertainment.
Cooper said that even the branch executive had no idea what was going on prior to Thursday’s meeting.
A letter from BC/Yukon Legion Command president Marc Tremblay was read out to the members.
It said that the closure was due to the branch’s former treasurer not handing in appropriate command documents at appropriate times.
The RCMP has not been called in and the Command is just looking at the branch’s records right now, said Shelley Coburn, manager of branch advisory operations for the BC/Yukon Command.
According to Cooper, there had been warnings sent from BC/Yukon command about the issue, but they had also gone to the same former treasurer. Cooper said the executive hadn’t heard them.
Coburn declined to say that any current or former executive members were at fault.
“We’re not pointing fingers at anyone,” she said.
Several provincial Legion officials were at Thursday’s meeting, and they said the branch would be shut down shortly.
“A locksmith was there as well,” Cooper said. The locks have been changed.
The branch’s executives have been suspended and were asked to turn over their keys and Legion chequebooks, said Cooper.
“I’m very upset,” she said.
Many of the people at the meeting thought they were just there to vote on whether or not to put a cover charge on for dances and band nights.
The closure will impact Aldergrove Legion members, as well as members and guests from other branches who came to events at Branch #265, Cooper said.
Coburn said the branch will be open again, possibly under trusteeship, as soon as possible.
“There’s no intention to close this branch down [permanently],” Coburn said.
She noted the branch’s support in the community is strong. Aldergrove’s Legion organizes a number of community events each year, most notably the annual Remembrance Day parade and ceremony which draws hundreds or thousands of viewers and participants.
Some events, including previously scheduled funerals, will still take place at the branch, Coburn confirmed.
Some current Legion members are helping out with the process of looking into the finances, which should help things move faster, Coburn said.
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