(WKBN) — A preliminary injunction has been issued against Michael Peppel and his Ohio Clean Water Fund for soliciting money under the guise of aiding East Palestine residents, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced Wednesday.
The creator of what Yost calls a “phony charity” claimed to be collecting donations on behalf of Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley to provide residents of East Palestine with emergency aid and bottled water after the Norfolk Southern train derailment.
Yost’s initial lawsuit and request for a temporary restraining order alleged that Peppel and others have pocketed at least $131,000 of the roughly $141,000 raised from more than 3,000 donors. Peppel paid only $10,000 — 7% of what he collected — to the food bank.
The lawsuit was continued through the end of the month. Columbiana County Court of Common Pleas Judge Scott Washam is expected to have a teleconference with the two parties on May 31.