Theft halts Winsted monument plans

Theft halts Winsted monument plans


WINSTED (AP) — Winsted will likely put on hold plans to renovate a Civil War monument after the town’s finance director has been accused of emptying a fund earmarked for reconstruction.

The Republican-American reports that former finance director Henry Centrella is accused of draining an account to pay a Water and Sewer Commission bond. Among funds discovered missing was $100,000 from the Soldiers’ Monument Commission.

Commission members had raised the money in donations toward a $500,000 restoration project.

Police allege Centrella stole at least $2 million and possibly as much as $7 million from town accounts and shuffled the books to cover his tracks. Centrella, who’s in jail, faces five counts of larceny.

He has pleaded not guilty.

The town has sued to take Centrella’s house and is trying to be first in line to receive any assets.

Taxpayers are footing the bill for a supplemental tax that will cost an average of $279 each as the town struggles to pay its bills.

Inside the monument are the names of about 300 local Civil War veterans engraved in stone plaques. A statute stands on top of the tower, offering sweeping views of surrounding hills.

The cost to renovate the monument is greater than $500,000. The commission wants to install a new roof, seal cracks in the walls, replace nearly two dozen windows and the flagpole and move an electrical conduit.

Water enters though small holes in the roof and through the exterior as a result of damaged windows, Silvester said.

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