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Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

A contractor who served two jail sentences before being hired by Newburyport, Massachusetts as the city’s parks manager without undergoing a background check has been charged in the theft of $43,000, according to an article posted on The Daily News of Newburyport website.

The Daily News of Newburyport reports the city did not run a background check on David Leonard, 54, “in accordance with its usual practice regarding the hiring of contractors” and that Leonard is charged with allegedly stealing the money from a nonprofit that oversees the city’s Atkinson Common park.

Newburyport Mayor Donna Holaday wrote in an email statement that Leonard did not undergo a background check because he was a contractor and not a city employee. She also said the decision whether a criminal conviction disqualifies a person from obtaining a city job is made on a case-by-case basis.

“Each situation and job is handled based on the job requirements, licenses required, length of time since and type of conviction (felony, misdemeanor, DUI), and current job and references,” Mayor Holaday wrote in the email, The Daily News of Newburyport reports.

According to the report, Leonard allegedly used money and credit cards from the Belleville Improvement Society, a nonprofit overseeing the city’s Atkinson Common park, to play online poker, purchase meals and shopping sprees, and pay traffic violations over a period of time ranging from 2011 to 2015.

Leonard was arraigned in Newburyport District Court on felony charges of larceny over $250, improper use of credit card over $250, and larceny by check over $250. He was sentenced to six months for domestic assault and battery in 2008 and has also served 18 months in jail for a probation violation.

The complete story is available on The Daily News of Newburyport website at

This story serves to remind employers why they should run a criminal record background check on every applicant applying for a job – even temps, part-time workers, volunteers, and contractors – or risk an incident that may cost them time, money, or possibly even something worse.

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