Dozens of long-missing mooring blocks have landed the harbormaster's office in Provincetown, Mass., at the center of a police probe and probably will result in an independent audit of its books.
On Monday, town manager Sharon Lynn will recommend to the Board of Selectmen that the town undertake an independent audit of Harbormaster Rex McKinsey's record keeping, according to a report in the Cape Cod Times.
Lynn's recommendation stems from a review by Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe of a complaint to Provincetown police that at least 36 underwater mooring blocks in Provincetown Harbor — dating from a purchase of a wharf in 1995 — have been moved illegally to a neighboring rental mooring field.
That rental field is run by Francis John Santos of Flyer's Boat Rental, president of that company and also a selectman. McKinsey was at one time an employee of Santos and his company. Santos did not return a call from the Cape Cod Times for comment Thursday.
A mooring is worth $1,500 to $1,800, exclusive of rental fees, according to the police probe.
In the district attorney's review of the complaint, O'Keefe noted that the relationship between McKinsey and Flyer's Boat Rentals "doesn't pass the sniff test," police chief Jeff Jaran said.
"We have a harbormaster with no record keeping. We have a selectman with the mooring blocks in his mooring field," Jaran said. "It's extremely difficult for the local police department to get information without an outside view."
The district attorney's office is forwarding aspects of the investigation to the state Ethics Commission and possibly the state attorney general's office, Jaran said Tuesday.
McKinsey said, in response to the complaint, that no town records exist for those moorings and that 16 MacMillan Wharf Realty Trust, which says it owns the missing moorings and initiated the complaint with police, might never have properly registered them with the town.