Former Longside Club manager gets conditional sentence for dipping into till

Rosie Mullaley
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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 Tuesday, 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 the fact that Costello stole $1,460.

Judge Mark Linehan gave Costello a two-month conditional sentence, with nine months’ probation.  He ordered 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, offers activities such as bingo, bowling, movies, karaoke and dances to its roughly 80 members.

In 2012, the club lost one of its funding sources — a short-order cooking program that 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.

Twitter: @TelyCourt

Organizations: Longside Club

Geographic location: Shaw Street

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