Originally created 07/11/98

Veterans memorial fund short



AIKEN -- Aiken County veterans are still a few bricks shy of a full monument, according to a professional audit.

The audit by a certified public accounting firm has determined the memorial's supporters have $36,572 in the bank, said Ed Hammons, finance chairman for the veterans coalition. This means they still will have to raise about $14,000 to start the final stage of the park's construction.

Gary A. Legate Jr., the coalition's treasurer, was arrested June 26 and charged with two counts of breach of trust in connection with $33,000 the organization is missing.

"If we had that back, we could put in the park tomorrow," Mr. Hammons said.

Mr. Legate was released from the Aiken County Detention Center on $10,000 bond. The case is still under investigation by the Aiken Department of Public Safety. The treasurer's duties have been turned over to Lewellyn & Co., a certified public accounting firm.

The memorial park will consist of a 30-foot monument made of polished black granite and a fountain. The site is a 1 1/2 -acre plot next to the Aiken County Agricultural Services Center on Richland Avenue.

The final stage of construction consists of installing the fountain, the walkway of engraved bricks and some landscaping for the park. The memorial's general contractor and the city of Aiken will meet next week to start planning the phase, Mr. Hammons said.

The veterans coalition unveiled the monument on the Fourth of July, reading the names etched in gold of the 151 men from the county who died in action.