The Oneonta Elks Club has agreed to make good on $170,000  from a bequest for charitable purposes that was used instead for repairs to the lodge at 84-86 Chestnut St., the state Attorney General’s Office has announced.

As part of the settlement, the Elks agreed to repay $169,162 – $80,000 in a lump payment, and monthly payments after that until all the money is returned.

Between February 2009 and December 2014, the Oneonta Elks received over $480,000 from the estate of a benefactor whose last will and testament directed that the funds be used to help the needs of children, people with disabilities, and the elderly.

After an investigation, the Attorney General’s Office determined that the Oneonta Elks repeatedly appropriated and expended almost $170,000 to pay for capital improvements to its lodge building and property, as well as covering general operating expenses, rather than for the purposes for which it was intended, according to the attorney general’s press release.

For example, the lodge used the money to pay outstanding real estate taxes, roof repairs/replacement, and driveway paving at its lodge, the press release said.

As a part of the agreement,  all of the remaining funds will be transferred to the state Elks Association Major Projects Corp., Inc. a registered charity, that will now administer the trust funds.

New York law requires those holding charitable funds to strictly use them for the benefit of those to whom the money was intended to benefit. Charitable funds may not be diverted for any other purpose. This settlement ensures that the money will be used in the manner intended by the person making the gift.

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