(STL.News) – Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed a lawsuit today against a Worthington charity and its founder for alleged misuse of charitable funds.
Doug Smith, of Worthington, incorporated Making Healthy Relationships (MHR) as a nonprofit in 2012. The organization worked to provide health education in schools in Franklin County.
Evidence uncovered during an investigation by the Ohio Attorney General’s Charitable Law Section suggests that Smith misused or misappropriated MHR’s charitable funds and assets. From 2012 to 2017, Smith allegedly spent $135,254 in charitable funds for the benefit of himself and his wife. Some of the spending included:
$15,150 in payments to FIA Credit Services for his wife’s credit card;
$18,801 in cash withdrawals;
$14,163 in restaurant and grocery store purchases, including Fresh Thyme, Whole Foods and Giant Eagle;
$50,401 in unexplained or otherwise questionable expenses, including purchases at House of Cigar, The Brewhouse, Andrews Jewelers, Sapphire Nightclub, Petco, European Style Tailoring, Dick’s Sporting Goods and other various retailers.
Investigators determined none of that spending was in support of the charitable mission or programming of MHR, nor were the funds lawful income or compensation paid to Smith.
The complaint, filed today in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, is available on the attorney general’s website.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) was requested by the Worthington Division of Police to investigate the case.
“The Worthington Division of Police has referred the investigation to BCI,” said Worthington Police Chief Robert Ware. “Mr. Smith is a Worthington City Council member and it is important to avoid any perceived conflict of interest.”