D.A.: No Criminal Wrongdoing in Ernestina Lumber Removal
The Bristol County District Attorney's Office has completed its investigation into the missing lumber meant for the restoration of the schooner Ernestina and has determined that there was no criminal wrongdoing in the removal of the pine beams from the New Bedford City Yard.
"While it would have been preferable for city employees to communicate effectively with one another to know the exact status of the beams and the Ernestina group's continued interest in using them, there is no evidence of criminal wrongdoing by anyone," District Attorney Thomas Quinn wrote in the report.
It is the same conclusion that was reached by the City of New Bedford in its internal investigation into the beams that were set aside for the restoration of the Ernestina but were removed from the City Yard in 2016.
The D.A.'s report found no evidence that neither any city employee, nor Freetown resident Shawn Davis, who was allowed to take the beams reportedly for a house he was building at only the cost of their removal, had attempted to steal the lumber. Just as with the City's report, the D.A.'s office found that it was a lack of communication or understanding of the history of the beams, as well as the Ernestina Commission's interest in them, that led to Davis being allowed to remove the lumber.
City investigators discovered the lumber was actually sold by Davis to two different sawmills for a total of $18,500. A ranch in Mississippi is currently in possession of some of the lumber.
The D.A.'s report states that "although it is concerning that Davis took advantage of the situation and profited from the sale of the beams, he was going to benefit from his acquisition of the beams, whether he built the house or disposed of them in another manner. However, his conduct does not constitute a crime."
Read the D.A.'s full report here: