First Selectman Bill Stuart and former Board of Finance member George Allingham have been at the center of a maelstrom in this small, rural town since last year.

The two former, longtime friends came to a disagreement over Mr. Stuart's handling of and disbursements from the Burnham Trust, a fund set up in 1925 through the will of Willam D. Burnham "for the benefit and relief of the town's poor."

Mr. Allingham alleges Mr. Stuart has misused the fund. Mr. Stuart denies any wrongdoing.

In September 2009, Mr. Allingham contacted the Connecticut attorney general's office, asking that it investigate payments made from the fund.

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal recused himself from any involvement in the matter due to a longstanding relationship with the town, and Deputy Attorney General Carolyn K. Querijero is overseeing the investigation.

In a preliminary report released June 4, Ms. Querijero outlines recommendations for policies and procedures she believes the town needs to adopt to assure the Burnham Trust's "charitable intent is followed."

They include having regular audits done of the fund and "establishing an objective standard to define poor."

She suggests several federal and state standards that might be drawn on, including poverty guidelines as detailed in U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data.

In 1984, the Board of Selectmen adopted a policy of having the first selectman disburse funds from the trust.

In 2008, a new policy was adopted by which the majority of the selectmen approve disbursements.

Ms. Querijero called the 2008 policy "a good first step."

Mr. Stuart claims that Ms. Querijero's letter supports his disbursement of funds from the trust.

He said he agrees with her recommendations for policies and procedures that are needed. And he said he believes they can be "easily achieved" by the selectmen and finance board.

"There isn't anybody who was given assistance through the fund by me who wouldn't meet the guidelines the AG's office recommends," Mr. Stuart said Monday.

"Ms. Querijero said scholarships could be given out through the fund, something that I had been accused of doing inappropriately," he said.

"I guess all the hoopla was just hoopla," Mr. Stuart added.

Mr. Allingham disagrees.

"Over a year ago, the Board of Finance chairman Collin Brown and I met with the Board of Selectmen and offered the exact guidance Ms. Querijero is recommending and Bill Stuart refused to accept our constructive suggestions," Mr. Allingham said Tuesday.

"Instead, (Mr. Stuart) constantly provided the public conflicting and non-factual information on his expenditures," Mr. Allingham claimed. "Obviously, he attempted to conceal his wrongdoings."