TRILBY — Leaders of the Greater Trilby Community Association are pulling the plug on a program that allowed the needy to register for social services online at the community center after the former manager was charged with trying to steal $2,595 from the center and her father, who was its president.
Board members decided to remove the Department of Children and Family computers, as well as donated clothes, books and groceries that had been part of a clothing bank and food pantry.
The food was sent to Trilby United Methodist Church, while the clothes and books are being sent to other area agencies.
A sign went up at the center directing people to the Boys & Girls Club in Lacoochee, the Salvation Army and Hugh Embry Library in Dade City.
Richard Riley, a board member who agreed to store the fax, printers, phones, routers and computers, declined to comment. He did say that the center, built in the 1940s, had historically been used as a meeting place for various community groups, such as cloggers, and would return to being reserved for such uses.
Herb Green, who resigned as president at a recent board meeting, said some residents never supported the idea of the center being a site to help the area's needy.
He said the closing wasn't related to the charges against his daughter, 46-year-old Sharon Green Adams, who was charged in May with stealing community association checks from her father and several of her parents' personal checks. A report states that Adams forged her father's signature and cashed the checks at a Citgo gas station at 20949 U.S. 98 in Trilby, obtaining $2,595.
The bank suspected the checks were fraudulent and returned the checks, so the Citgo station — not Green or the association — was at a loss, the report states. Authorities say the thefts happened between March and May 10.
Green said critics simply used the arrest as an excuse to shut down the social service program.
"They want Trilby to be the way it always has been," he said.
The Lacoochee and Trilby areas, which are among the poorest areas of the county, lack many of the services that are common in other parts of Pasco. A community group has raised more than $900,000 to match $1 million in state money to build a new community center in Lacoochee that will house the Boys & Girls Club and offer basic health care and other services. Construction is expected to begin before year's end.
The keys to the community center will be held by the members of a newly formed subcommittee and Green, who remains president of the Security Patrol.