A complaint made with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office alleges Medstar’s director of maintenance stole more than $600 worth of helicopter fuel.
The director of maintenance for the county’s medical helicopter program, Greg Schiegner, allegedly bragged to the program’s former director about taking the 135 gallons of fuel to use on his farm, according to a sworn statement filed Saturday by former Medstar pilot Arnold McAllister.
Shiegner did not return calls to his cellphone Tuesday evening.
Deputies will not investigate the alleged theft, because McAllister “is no longer affiliated with Medstar, he is not the victim of a crime and therefore, not able to report a crime in this case,” according to the sheriff’s report.
The sheriff’s office declined to comment. Sheriff Mike Scott instituted a policy Feb. 29 that prohibits employees from speaking to The News-Press.
County Manager Karen Hawes did not return calls to her cellphone and office Tuesday about the report. Whether she will call on the sheriff’s office to investigate the alleged theft of county property remains unknown.
County management has tapped Schiegner to be the “point of contact” with Federal Aviation Administration officials.
Earlier this week, the FAA launched an investigation into federal rules the county violated by billing patients for $3 million in medical flights, according to the FAA.
County officials were prohibited from charging for the flights, because the program failed to meet federal safety regulations.
Schiegner kept his job when the county terminated three pilots and the program’s director last month. McAllister, along with pilots Ricky Tackett and Dennis McFarlane were among those who lost their jobs.
At the time, county officials claimed the program was suspended for six to nine months to seek a voluntary accreditation from an out-of-state company.
But County Manager Karen Hawes admitted Tuesday the county’s inability to acquire federal certifications and bill for flights played a role in the decision. She denied knowledge of the improper billings, which will now have to be canceled, as the county looks to return the $320,000 that was collected.
According to the complaint, Shiegner took the fuel from a county helicopter May 14, after it was flown to Avon Park for a new paint job. The helicopter shouldn’t have been filled up before it was repainted, but no one told that to the pilot, Robert Buss, the complaint read.
When Shiegner returned from defueling the helicopter, he told former Medstar director Rob Fulton that he took the “14 cans of fuel” to his house, according to a May 17 email from Tackett that was included in the complaint.
In the email, Tackett states he was “stunned” and questioned “why they would not have kept the fuel to put back in the aircraft when they were done with it,” according to the email.
For the trip back to Lee County, Fulton charged $644 to a county credit, which bought about 119 gallons of fuel, according to a July 19 credit card receipt that was filed with the report.