Former Clifton Park senior center leader accused of stealing $250K

March 01, 2018 01:21 AM

CLIFTON PARK - There's no evidence Wednesday afternoon of a major crime at the senior center. Members were playing cards, knitting and getting tax help. Many were shocked to hear the center's former executive director, Sean Flaherty, is accused of stealing a quarter million dollars.

"I don't know how that could be. Didn't expect that in Clifton Park," said Rosemary O'Donnell, a member for 13 years.

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In county court Wednesday, Flaherty had some trouble remembering how old he is, stopping to think about when he was asked by Judge Jim Murphy.

The 42-year-old also has no recollection of stealing money from what was then-called Shenendehowa Adult Community Center.

Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen won't say how they think Flaherty used the money.

"That's for trial," Heggen said.

However, law enforcement sources say Flaherty went on cruises, bought concert tickets, rented hotel rooms, and gambled.

Flaherty said he didn't steal anything when he was asked by a NewsChannel 13 reporter Wednesday.

Flaherty's background was in teaching country line dancing before he was named executive director of the center. Now, he's accused of waltzing away with their money.

He pleaded not guilty as he was arraigned and was taken into police custody.

An hour later, he posted $50,000 bond and walked out of the courthouse, pending his next appearance.

Meanwhile, the center has a new name and a new leader. The Town of Clifton Park took over the Clifton Park Senior Community Center after Flaherty's initial arrest in late 2016.

Town Supervisor Phil Barrett says things have turned around and there are now 900 members, some of whom were shortchanged.

"If indeed somebody's selfish actions caused harm to others, yeah, that's very disappointing," said Barrett.

If convicted of the top counts of a 12-count indictment, Flaherty could face up to 6 1/3 to 19 years in prison.


WNYT Staff

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