Cumberland Times-News

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November 5, 2013

Frostburg Eagles doors remain shut, investigation ongoing

FROSTBURG — An institution in the area for more than 100 years, the doors of the Fraternal Order of Eagles of Frostburg have been closed to its members since May with plans to reopen the Main Street lodge still unclear.

“We’re hanging in limbo,” said Charlie Spiker, trustee with the Frostburg Eagles.

The key issue surrounding the closing of the Eagles has centered around missing funds.

“Frostburg has run into difficulty due to the misappropriation of funds,” said Paul Armstrong, the Maryland state ambassador for the FOE.

Allegany County State’s Attorney Michael Twigg confirmed that an investigation into the matter is ongoing.

“It’s being reviewed. There are checks that need to be verified,” said Twigg.

A Frostburg Eagle officer who had access to the organization’s funds is currently a person of interest in the fraud investigation.

Armstrong said that the loss of funds contributed to the Eagles’ inability to keep its permits and licenses current.

Funds are also needed to pay the state.

“We owe back sales tax to Maryland,” said Spiker.

The frustration for the Eagles officials has been their inability to recoup the money that they believe was lost under fraudulent circumstances.

The Eagles officers are cooperating with law enforcement on the matter and hope to get some answers in the near future.

“Our problem is we can’t get our insurance carrier to reimburse us for the (missing) funds until charges are officially filed,” said Armstrong.

The investigation requires research into credit cards, bank statements, receipts and other paper trails.

Meanwhile, Frostburg Eagles rank and file members are left looking for answers as to the future of the aerie. Under the FOE, local lodges are known as aeries.

“The majority of Frostburg members would be up for renewal (of dues) Oct. 31,” said Armstrong.

Until the Frostburg Eagles can get reimbursed, it lacks the funding to get current on the required trade permits, liquor licenses and sales taxes to reopen the doors.

“We’re in a bind,” said Armstrong, who resides in Brunswick.

Armstrong is a former Eagles league president.

“Right now, they (the Frostburg aerie) are under suspension.”

The Frostburg Eagles opened its doors in 1905.

An international nonprofit, the Fraternal Order of Eagles has aeries worldwide and has donated to many charities including diabetes research, goods for overseas troops, kidney and cancer research, as well as spinal cord studies.

For now, until the investigation can be completed, the doors to the Frostburg Eagles remain locked.

“I hope to get some answers quickly and get Frostburg back on its feet,” said Armstrong.

Eagles officials say a meeting has been scheduled to help members get updates on the situation.

Spiker said the goal of the Frostburg Eagles is to “get going again.”

Greg Larry can be contacted at glarry@times-news.com.

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