More than 3,000 people donated money to an organization that pledged to help the residents of East Palestine, Ohio after the train derailment that sent a toxic mushroom cloud over the Northeastern U.S., but the charity organizer stole all but $10,000, a new lawsuit alleges.
Dave Yost, Attorney General of Ohio, alleges in the April 10 lawsuit that Mike Peppel used his nonprofit organization “Ohio Clean Water Fund” (Fund) to solicit $141,000 from donors, but “brazenly exploit[ed the] disaster situation and the good hearts of people who want to help” by pocketing most of the money instead.
The Fund had promised to use the contributions it received to provide “emergency aid and bottled water” since the Feb. 2 disaster, which saw water contaminated by the toxic fumes and people and animals suffer breathing ailments.
Peppel came to the AG’s attention when Second Harvest Food Bank, to which the Fund sent the $10,000, reported to Yost saying that they had not entered into any partnership with Peppel’s group; meanwhile, Peppel claimed that his Fund was officially working with the food bank.
- Air Quality Improves after Ohio Train Derailment, But Environmental Impacts Linger
- Fallout From East Palestine Train Derailment May Have Reached as Far North as Canada
- Another Industrial Alcohol Spill as Train Derails Outside of Minneapolis
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