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Report: Brookline Fire Chief Corey violated numerous policies

BROOKLINE, NH — Brookline Fire Chief Charles Corey likely violated numerous city policies against harassment and likely also violated the city's code of conduct regarding falsification of financial documents, according to an independent report.

But these findings were not enough for the city's fire commission to remove Corey from office. The commission is chaired by Deputy Fire Chief David Joki, who served as interim fire chief during Corey's suspension.

Corey was suspended in December after former administrative assistant Anais Molina informed the committee about Corey's ongoing harassment and the falsification orders. Committee members hired attorney Anne Jenness to investigate Molina's allegations and then turned all responsibility over to the Fire Wards.

“An independent investigation was conducted and a report was provided to the fire districts. In consultation with legal counsel, the fire districts reviewed the report and determined how they would respond to the situation. They informed the Select Board of their decisions in late April,” the selectmen said in a statement released Friday.

“The City of Brookline treats all personnel matters confidentially and respects the privacy of all current and former employees. Access to the confidential report of the independent investigation was limited to fire stations; the Select Board did not receive a copy.”

The Jenness report makes it clear that Corey largely did what Molina accused him of, but left the final interpretation of Corey's actions to the Fire Wards.

“I find that, based on a preponderance of the evidence, Corey violated the City's EEO policy and/or sexual harassment policy,” Jenness wrote. “As noted above, these EEO and sexual harassment policies hold employees to a higher standard of conduct than the law requires. I draw no conclusions as to whether these findings would constitute a violation of federal, state or local law.”

Corey was ordered to apologize to Molina for the harassment, but it was determined that document falsification was not an issue. Corey reportedly ordered a former assistant to falsify invoices so the department could be reimbursed for medical exams.

According to Corey's attorney, Bob Parodi, the Fire Wards were aware of Corey's handling of his financial records before Molina's complaint.

“While this billing by the beneficiary is unusual, it is not intended to defraud anyone and does not constitute forgery. Furthermore, the creation of these bills on December 28, 2020 and December 21, 2021 was done with the full knowledge and consent of the fire department,” Parodi wrote in a letter to InDepthNH.org.

Parodi also denies that the documents are forgeries. The fictitious invoices used Southern New Hampshire Medical Center's letterhead and footer and contained a forged signature, Molina said.

Fire Ward Joki is one of the signatories of the letter to Molina informing her of the board's decision to keep Corey on the job after he apologized to her. Corey was reinstated to his job last month, after which Molina resigned.


This story was originally published by InDepth NH.

Anna Harden

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