The former manager of a club that provides services to members with mental and physical challenges has conceded he stole money from the club.
In provincial court in St. John’s today, Francis Costello pleaded guilty to theft under $5,000.
The 39-year-old, who was represented by defence lawyer Michelle Coady, had been charged with theft over $5,000, but Crown prosecutor Danny Murphy agreed to the lesser charge, as the evidence supported facts that Costello stole $1,460.
Judge Mark Linehan gave Costello a three-month conditional sentence, with nine months probation. He included a restitution order for Costello to pay back the money he took from the club.
The Longside 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.
To help fundraise for the club, several local musicians recently held a series of shows.