The town of Johnson has sent a letter requesting its former highway foreman Hugh Albright pay back the $14,635.73 he allegedly misappropriated in his short tenure.
Albright, who was only employed by the town for approximately six months, was fired and subsequently arrested on charges of embezzlement by the Lamoille County Sheriff’s Department in early August.
The town selectboard voted to send Albright the letter asking for restitution at the end of an Aug. 30 meeting and the letter was sent by town administrator Brian Story on Sept. 1.
The deadline given by the town was Sept. 15.
“As a result of the misuse of public resources while you were the Town of Johnson Public Works Supervisor/Road Foreman, the Town of Johnson has suffered a loss of those resources. In previous conversations and in public statements you have expressed an interest in making the town whole for its damages,” Story said in the letter.
He continued: “At this time, we believe that you have an incomplete understanding of our losses. However, we did want to assist you in being able to make restitutions.”
In a contrite statement given to the News & Citizen reported in August in which he confessed to “utilizing town accounts to make personal purchases” and took “full responsibility” for his actions, Albright did express the desire to make the town whole.
“I am working with the selectboard to make things whole with the town and plan to pay any money owed the minute I receive a response from them,” he said in August.
As of the morning of Sept. 15, Albright had not repaid the town in full or negotiated a plan to resolve his alleged debt to the town.
A variety of options are now on the table for the town of Johnson to compel Albright to pay them what they believe they are owed. A civil suit would be one option, but a more likely outcome would be that the former highway foreman and the town agree to a timeframe for Albright to pay back the town.
Regardless of the town’s request for restitution, Albright’s criminal charges of embezzlement are a separate matter. Albright will be arraigned in Lamoille Superior Court on Sept. 29 in Hyde Park.
Felony embezzlement exceeding $100 of property or money and is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.