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Red Cross Finds $76,000 Left in Fire Relief Fund

September 27, 2003|From Times Wire Reports

American Red Cross officials have found that $76,000 remains of money donated to victims of a 2001 wildfire after an audit prompted by widespread criticism of the charity's handling of donations.

The six-day fire, which destroyed five houses and five mobile homes, attracted about $400,000 in donations to the local Red Cross chapter. When fire victims complained that they received little in relief, a controversy erupted that led to the ouster of the chapter's board and chief executive officer; donations to the chapter dropped by 70%.

The chapter's new chief executive, Veronica Froman, said an audit found $343,000 was donated directly to fire victims. About $264,000 was spent in connection with the disaster and to assist 26 fire victims. One victim recently requested $3,000 in relief, leaving the fund with $76,000.

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