Former Longside club manager likely to plead guilty

Rosie Mullaley
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The former manager of a social club for members with mental and physical disabilities, suspected of stealing money from the club, will likely plead guilty to criminal charges.

Francis Costello wasn’t in provincial court in St. John’s when his case was called Friday morning. Instead, he was represented by defence lawyer Michelle Coady.

Coady said she met with Costello earlier this week. She told Judge Lori Marshall that she is discussing the case with the Crown and she’s confident it can be dealt with by way of speedy disposition.

She and prosecutor Jennifer Colford, who was filling in for Glynne Faulkner, agreed to have the case return to court April 30.

Costello is charged with theft of more than $5,000 from the Longside Club.

The club, a social and recreational centre on Shaw Street in St. John’s, provides services, including bingo, bowling, movies, karaoke and dances, to about 80 members.

In 2012, the club lost one of its funding generators, a short-order cooking program, which had operated for 18 years.

The course was funded by the government to help people get off income support and gain employment in restaurants, hotels and other service industries.

The club was in danger of closing this time two years ago, and organized a blitz of fundraising activities, including an art auction and recycling drive.

But with a cut in government funding, the club needs money to pay its rent and utilities by the end of the month: $1,824, to be exact.

Recently, several local musicians held a series of shows to help fundraise for the club.

Twitter: @TelyCourt

Geographic location: Longside, Shaw Street

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