California has gone to court seeking to oust leaders of the Help Hospitalized Veterans charity, alleging excessive executive pay and fraudulent fundraising.
State Attorney General Kamala D. Harris said in a release posted on her official Web site Thursday that she filed a civil lawsuit Wednesday that also demands the repayment of more than $4.3 million in funds she contends was improperly diverted from Help Hospitalized Veterans.
Harris said the money was intended to support programs serving veterans and active-duty military, but instead was used to enrich the organization's officers and fundraisers.
"The officers of Help Hospitalized Veterans improperly diverted money that hard-working and patriotic Americans donated to support injured vets," Harris said in the release. "We must protect veterans, active-duty military and donors from scam artists who see them as little more than prey for their financial frauds."
The suit alleges the charity improperly spent money on golf memberships and a condominium for use by its officers and authorized excessive executive compensation of more than $2.3 million for the group's former president, Roger Chapin, and more than $900,000 for its current president, Michael Lynch.
The attorney general also alleges Chapin benefited personally by substantial diversions of the charity's funds to entities in which he had a financial interest.
The attorney general goes on to allege the group used what she calls accounting gimmicks to inflate the amount of income purportedly spent on providing veterans' services while artificially minimizing the amount reportedly spent on fundraising.
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