Missouri Settles with Joplin Tornado Fundraiser
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) - A New Orleans-based fundraiser has agreed to pay Missouri $39,000 for using Joplin tornado relief donations to spend money on clothes, food and her children's baby sitter.
Attorney General Chris Koster announced the settlement Wednesday in Joplin. Koster said Sidney Ray-Bazan collected more than $133,000 in donations after the deadly May 2011 tornado, but spent almost one-third of the money for personal use.
Koster says the settlement money will go to the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. That foundation will then provide funds to the nonprofit group Rebuild Joplin to continue reconstruction of the southwest Missouri town.
Louisiana phone numbers for Ray-Bazan's organization, Relief Spark, and her home were disconnected. Koster says Ray-Bazan has also agreed not to solicit donations in Missouri for five years.