AMHERST, Ohio — News 5 Investigators are breaking more news about a local Habitat for Humanity’s leadership accused of misusing the non-profit’s money. Additional changes are now happening to the organization, including a “rare” move by Habitat International.
Kathy Weaver from Avon was hoping to make a donation Monday to the Lorain County Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Amherst.
“Hopefully, somebody could fix it up and use it. They’re very nice end tables,” she told us. “Well, it’s a wasted trip."
Her trip was wasted because when she pulled up to the store, the entrances were blocked off.
HABITAT INTERNATIONAL TAKES ACTION
Habitat International told News 5 Investigators that based on complaints it has received and Lorain County Habitat’s response to the complaints, the national office “…made the rare and difficult decision to disaffiliate…” meaning, “Lorain County Habitat for Humanity is no longer a part of Habitat for Humanity.”
Just last week, the local Habitat Board’s attorney Howard Lane told us the organization is “…undergoing a transition of leadership.”
RELATED: Lorain Co. Habitat for Humanity ReStore closed during 'transition of leadership' amid News 5 Investigation
Today, Lane said the board is “surprised and disappointed” by Habitat International’s decision to sever ties. Lane said the board is now reviewing options for its next steps.
There was a previous sign on the ReStore stating that it was closed until May 1. It has been replaced with a new sign that, once again, states that this store is temporarily closed and that we should visit the Lorain County Habitat for Humanity website, where we saw something else that we found pretty curious.
LOCAL HABITAT SITE USES CURIOUS TACTICS
First, the Habitat for Humanity name is still being used on the site and, more interestingly, there are still options to donate money to the organization online.
And your tax dollars have been used to help this organization. Lorain County gave a $5,000 grant to the local Habitat in 2020 to help offset the pandemic. Plus, Lorain County Habitat received more than $40,000 in the federal Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, just last year.
We called a couple dozen past donors of the Lorain County Habitat which includes churches, government agencies, small businesses and more. One small business told us it’s “very disappointed” to hear of the allegation made in a citizen complaint to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office that claims the leadership misused money and used influence to get friends Habitat homes.
Weaver is also disappointed after making donations in the past.
“It was a nice place,” said Weaver. “I know a lot of people who come here and depend on it. A lot of people redo their house and come here.”
At this point, no charges have been filed. It’s a News 5 policy to not name those accused until charges come forth. Sources do tell us the Ohio Attorney General’s Office is investigating.