Minnesota Lawsuit Against Student Lunch Debt Fundraiser Settled
St Paul (KROC AM News) - A Minnesota woman accused of starting a charity to help pay off student lunch debt and keeping much of the money has reached a settlement with state Attorney General Keith Ellison.
He filed a civil complaint last year against Pamela Fergus, who organized an online charitable fundraiser called “Philando Feeds the Children” in honor of Philando Castile, a Twin Cities man who was shot and killed by a police officer in 2016.
Castile worked in a St Paul school cafeteria and frequently helped students buy lunch.
The lawsuit alleged that of approximately $200,000 that Fergus collected only about $80,000 was donated to Saint Paul Public Schools for the purpose of relieving student lunch debt, leaving approximately $120,000 unaccounted for.
The settlement requires Fergus to pay back the $120,000 and prohibits her from being in charge of charitable money ever again.
“This settlement helps to ensure that the money donors gave in Philando’s name will go back to where it was intended — to help Saint Paul kids who struggle to pay for school lunches,” Attorney General Ellison said. “Philando Castile cared deeply about the children he served, and the children loved him back. Failing to use every dollar raised to help those children was an insult to Philando’s legacy and all who loved him. This settlement helps right that wrong by continuing Philando’s commitment to serving students in need and ensures that the powerful impact he had during his life will continue to live as his legacy to the children and all of us.”
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