WEST WYOMING -- A volunteer fire company took itself out of the running for a $400,000 casino money grant after Newswatch 16 pointed out a potential conflict of interest.
The man listed as a community sponsor for a grant to improve the fire station stood to make money from the fix-up.
Paperwork shows former Wyoming Mayor Bob Boyer spearheaded the effort to get the grant.
The West Wyoming Hose Company's banquet hall lists a preferred caterer for weddings and other functions at the facility -- the owner of Boyer Brother's Barbecue, Bob Boyer.
West Wyoming Hose Company Number 1 is outgrowing its 32-year-old building on Shoemaker Avenue. Hose company officials want more room for its growing fleet of ambulances, an upgraded heating and air conditioning system, and an expanded kitchen for the company's banquet hall.
The hose company hoped to land a $440,000 grant of casino money to make these improvements.
The application was made through neighboring Wyoming borough, where officials say it was done to reward the hose company for providing ambulance service to Wyoming.
Bob Boyer was Wyoming's mayor at the time of the application and was listed as the sponsor.
But the hose company also lists Boyer as the department's preferred caterer and Boyer himself lists the hose company's Shoemaker Street address as the address of his catering business.
"That is a big conflict of interest. That money should be going to the volunteer fire department," said West Wyoming resident Chad Grove.
"That would look poorly for either the community or the fire company itself," said West Wyoming resident Rickie Bartolini.
Newswatch 16 brought this apparent conflict to State Representative Aaron Kaufer and State Senator John Yudichak.
As a result, both lawmakers said they considered pulling their letters of support for the grant application.
They didn't have to. The treasurer of the hose company wrote to Newswatch 16.
"In light of information learned from WNEP, West Wyoming Hose Co. #1 has withdrawn its grant application. We want to be sure that our actions and the appearance of our actions are free of even the hint of impropriety."
"It's the right thing to do," said State Rep. Aaron Kauffer,(R) 120th House District. "Looking at what could have been potential conflicts, this is the better way of going about it."
"They do have a worthy project," said State Sen. John Yudichak, (D) 14th Senate District. "Stepping back because of a hint of impropriety is always wise."
Former Mayor Bob Boyer would not comment on camera.
By phone, he said he didn't see a conflict because the expanded garage for ambulances and firefighting equipment is the focal point of the project.
But hose company officials are moving on, saying they'll apply for the grant next year, through West Wyoming borough and not Wyoming.
Senator Yudichak and Representative Kauffer say if that happens, they will give the project their support.