Chesterfield American Legion officially open for members after months of being locked out

CHESTERFIELD, Ind. - An American Legion Post is back open after their members were locked out for months and their commander was arrested for stealing money.

“Just hearing that door slam, it’s someone coming in" said new commander Gene Lewis, "You didn’t hear that the last two years.”

In May, post members said former Chesterfield Post 408 Commander Chris Brenneman locked them out, with the building sitting vacant and rotting until October.

Come August, Brenneman and his wife Melissa were arrested and charged with taking money from the post and its members.

“We’ll all follow that, you know, it is what it is," Post Finance Officer Denny Parker said of the case. “We probably lost half our membership.”

“We forced the State to come in and hold an election," Lewis said.

After Lewis took over, they were allowed to get into the building that had sat still since May, with the power being turned off in July.  The refrigerators still had food inside.

“It was probably sitting out there without power for 2-3 months," Parker said, “We had to stay out for two weeks to get rid of the roaches and the flies.”

The State Health Department cleared the Legion Friday morning, but their members say there is still work to be done. So far, it’s taken roughly $10,000 to $15,000 just to get them open.