Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on Friday filed suit against Rebecca Drobnick, her two children, Timothy and Mindy Drobnick, and American Heroes Alliance in a 21-count complaint against them for violations of Ohio's Charitable Trust Act and Charitable Organizations Act.
The suit alleges that Drobnick failed to register a charitable trust with the State of Ohio, mislead donors who believed their contributions would help veterans and their families, and misappropriated more than $150,000 of charitable assets for personal purposes.
"Unfortunately, there are those who seek personal profit by pocketing money raised in the name of supporting our troops and veterans," DeWine said. "The Ohio Attorney General's Office has targeted fraudulent veterans' charities and solicitors, and this case shows we will continue to do so when people try to take advantage support for our veterans."
Rebecca Drobnick, of Columbus, started Operation Homefront of Ohio Inc., a local chapter of the national organization, Operation Homefront, Inc., late in 2009. Ms. Drobnick used Operation Homefront of Ohio's bank account as if it were her own, frequently purchasing restaurant meals, hair salon services and car repairs; hiring her son to perform information technology services and reimbursing him generously; and paying for her grandson's funeral costs. When the national organization moved to revoke her Chapter Affiliation Agreement, Ms. Drobnick started a new charity, American Heroes Alliance, which Ms. Drobnick also treated as an extension of her own bank account. No charitable programming or activity could be documented.
Ms. Drobnick never completed the registration process for either organization under either the Ohio Charitable Trust Act or the Ohio Charitable Organizations Act.
When the Chapter Affiliation Agreement for Operation Homefront of Ohio, Inc. was terminated, Ms. Drobnick refused to turn over any of the assets to the national organization, including two vehicles still in her possession. A temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction were granted to prevent her from disposing of the charitable assets.
To check whether a charitable organization is in compliance with its registration obligations or whether a professional solicitor is properly registered, call the Ohio Attorney General's Office at 800-282-0515 or visit www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov. If you encounter suspicious activities involving charities or charitable solicitations, contact the Ohio Attorney General's Office to file a complaint.
To read a copy of the lawsuit, click on the link below.