LOS ANGELES (AP) — California's attorney general has filed a lawsuit alleging misdeeds by Move America Forward, a nonprofit that sends packages of food, clothes or other items to troops.
Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced Wednesday that the organization has used images taken from other charities without permission, and on at least one occasion used the name and story of an injured veteran without permission.
"Our troops and their commitment to our country should never be used for deceitful gimmicks," Becerra wrote in a news release.
The Sacramento-based charity is also accused of falsely claiming a partnership with Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
The suit seeks to remove Sal Russo and other directors from the charity they created back in 2004 and keep them from running another one or soliciting donations anywhere in the golden state.
"The worst thing is he repeated things in his press conference that we've explained to him and that they're false," Russo told FOX40 Wednesday.
Charity spokesman Danny Gonzalez says none of the accusations are true. Move America Forward co-founder Melanie Morgan said Becerra's suit was politically motivated.
Other allegations include allowing charity directors who operate for-profit companies to charge the charity, free use of charity office space by two political action committees, and use of charitable assets to support two political campaigns.
The suit claims Russo's for-profits illegally culled $1.8 million from his nonprofit in free rent and fees for taking money from it and then handing it back. The name of one of those for-profits is Russo Marsh, which Russo claims he manages.