EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) — Ohio Attorney David Yost announced Wednesday that his office has recovered more than $131,000 in donations he says were “pocketed” by the Ohio Clean Water Fund (OCWF).

Yost filed a lawsuit against the Ohio Clean Water Fund and said that it incorrectly stated that it was working with Second Harvest Food Bank to raise more than $141,000 to provide bottled water and emergency aid to the residents of East Palestine following the train derailment.

Yost said the food bank had not given OCWF permission to fundraise on its behalf and that the charity “pocketed” at least $131,000 of donated funds while sending $10,000 to the food bank.

The settlement includes a dismissal of the claims against the OCWF and one of its board members, Patrick Lee.

Under the agreement:

  • The Ohio Clean Water Fund must pay $131,904.88, including $116,904.88 in restitution and $15,000 in civil penalties.
  • The Ohio Clean Water Fund must dissolve.
  • Lee is barred from being a board member of or soliciting money for a charity in the future.

Yost said his lawsuit remains active against OCWF creator Michael Peppel and that his office is working to finalize an agreement with “will protect the charitable sector from any similar misconduct by Peppel and others.”

Yost said he plans to disburse the recovered funds to Second Harvest Food Bank.