The popular Loudoun County radio personality Paul Draisey, who committed suicide at his Middleburg home last month, is now suspected of embezzling almost $500,000 from the Middleburg Volunteer Fire Department, for which he was the treasurer and his son was the president.
Draisey, sometimes called “The Voice of Loudoun County,” fatally shot himself on April 16, after members of the Middleburg fire department board began inquiring about the department’s funds. The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office is now investigating the embezzlement, which wasn’t uncovered until after Draisey died.
Edward B. MacMahon Jr., a lawyer for the fire department, announced the embezzlement at a news conference Monday night outside the Middleburg town hall, saying that “over the last three years, the late Mr. Paul Draisey, the past treasurer of the volunteer fire department, embezzled a substantial amount of funds from the department,” and that the amount “approaches $500,000.” He said he was hopeful that the department can recoup “some, if not all, of the embezzled funds from insurance policies that were in effect.”
Loudoun County provides 24 career firefighters and $167,000 a year to help run the Middleburg station, current rescue chief and former president Allie Love said Tuesday. The department’s volunteers raise another $80,000 annually. About 22 volunteers supplement the full-time staff, and the fund-raising helps purchase the fire apparatus.
“We were in the process of evaluating a replacement pumper and replacing an ambulance,” Love said. “At this point those plans are on hold.”
Love said there have been “established financial management practices in the past which were allowed to lapse. As a result, there was not the financial oversight that needed to be taking place.
“The impact,” Love added, “is we are living month to month until we are able to recoup some of the funds.”
Draisey, 55, had been the treasurer for three years and his son Brad was president. A new president, Bruce Gilbert, was recently elected and when board members began looking into the purchase of new trucks, Draisey was unable to account for the department’s money.
Draisey had worked at WAGE-AM 1200 for many years until he and many others were fired in 2007, and the station shut down in 2009. He worked as an insurance agent.
Loudoun Sheriff Mike Chapman said Tuesday that Draisey had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and that was when his department first learned of the suspected embezzlement. He said his office was investigating, but he could not comment on an ongoing case.