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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Investigation launched into disaster funds

  • Now that the deadline has passed for the former Oklahoma director of America’s Disaster Relief to turn in receipts and contracts to account for more than $70,000, the CEO of that national disaster group has turned over information to local authorities for investigation.
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  • Now that the deadline has passed for the former Oklahoma director of America’s Disaster Relief to turn in receipts and contracts to account for more than $70,000, the CEO of that national disaster group has turned over information to local authorities for investigation.
    Pottawatomie County District Attorney Richard Smothermon has confirmed that his investigators are now probing matters involving Tonia Allen, the former Oklahoma director of America’s Disaster Relief who was assisting with tornado recovery efforts in Steelman Estates.
    Jan France, the CEO of America’s Disaster Relief, and its board, earlier this month removed Allen from her volunteer position as the Oklahoma and Texas director. That action was taken while that non-profit organization asked questions of her about missing documentation, including receipts and contracts to account for more than $70,000 in disaster funds and donations, along with questions as to why both the Oklahoma and Texas ADR accounts were overdrawn.
    When France began to uncover problems and concerns, she asked publicly for Allen, who resides in Texas, to have documentation turned in by July 18 to clear up this matter, but when Allen missed that deadline, the all-volunteer organization made a complaint to the district attorney’s office.
    The News-Star has attempted several times to contact Allen for comments about this matter. Initially a recording on her cell phone said she was not accepting calls; now it is no longer a working number.
    France, who said she’s sending information to investigators, said anyone who made a donation of money or in-kind items to ODR or to Allen, is asked to send her a copy of their receipt if they have one. Even without a receipt, she’s asking for those who made donations to make a list and let them know that information as well.
    And while the investigation is ongoing, France said there are ADR officials helping tornado victims in this area. For now, there are building materials and other items available for tornado victims still in need as that group operates out of The Mission at Pink, 30483 Highway 9, Tecumseh, Oklahoma 74873.
    The new Oklahoma director of ADR is Grace Goodenough, while Chaplain Kevin is coordinator and Cori Allridge is assistant director. They can be reached at 405-650-7722, France said.
    America’s Disaster Relief operates in many states, including Oklahoma, Texas, Florida, Alabama, Kansas, New Mexico, Louisiana, New Jersey and New York, and has assisted families affected by many major disasters, including Super Storm Sandy, along with tornado and wildfire disasters in many states.
    More about the non-profit organization can be found at: www.wcdisasterrelief.org or e-mails can be sent to France at WCDisaserRelief@aol.com.
     
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