A phony charity claiming to raise funds for East Palestine residents after the toxic train derailment in February must turn over more than $131,000 in pocketed donations.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost on Wednesday announced a settlement reached with the Ohio Clean Water Fund.
“I stand by my word to fight for the community of East Palestine,” according to a statement from Yost. “We sued to make sure the contributions improperly solicited from well-intentioned donors get into the hands of people who will use them for their intended purposes. Our fight isn’t over, but this is a win.”
The fund claimed to be operating on behalf of Second Harvest Food Bank and raised more than $141,000 to provide bottled water and emergency aid, according to the lawsuit. The food bank did not give permission to raise funds on its behalf, and Yost’s lawsuit revealed only $10,000 was given to the food bank of the money collected.
Under the settlement agreement the Ohio Clean Water Fund must pay $131,904, including $116,904 in restitution and $15,000 in civil penalties and the fund must dissolve.
The lawsuit remains active against fund creator Mike Peppel.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office plans to disburse recovered funds to the Second Harvest Food Bank.