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Attorney General investigation prompts closure of Perrysburg Heights Community Center

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The Perrysburg Heights Community Association has shut down its center because of a state investigation of the nonprofit.

The Blade
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Corrected: This version removed wrong information about the complaints to the state.

The Perrysburg Heights Community Association and its board members are under investigation by the Ohio Attorney General's Office and, as a result, shut down the community center on Friday to save money from operations to pay for attorney fees.

The state investigation is looking at whether the Perrysburg Township nonprofit is operating properly and whether board members are receiving personal gain, according to association treasurer Jason Craig.

The Attorney General's Office would not say whether it is investigating or indicate what penalties could be imposed if a nonprofit was determined to have operated improperly.

The office received six complaints, which mostly contended the association's President Jesse Spier was gaining a profit from the center being rented out to his business. Also complaints said that Mr. Craig and other people in the association were gaining a profit from weddings and other events rented at the center. Complaints maintained that gift cards donated to the association were sold on Ebay.

Mr. Craig said that the association will incur legal fees because of the investigation, estimating those could be $5,000 or more. The nonprofit has $10,000 in its bank account now, he said, and that would cover the center's operations until October when the center will receive money to pay future bills from rent payments for the center's gym.

To lower bills, the association has closed its doors temporarily to save on electrical and air conditioning bills. The costs from the investigation, Mr. Craig said, could mean the association would no longer be able to run the facility.

The Perrysburg Heights Community Center is a building for children to play in after school, get tutor help on homework, spend time in the gym space or game room. Mr. Craig said he and other board members will open their houses in the Perrysburg Heights neighborhood until the facility reopens to make sure children receive help with homework.

Mr. Spier, the association president cited in the complaints to the state, is president of the Toledo Sport and Social Club, which rents the center's gym space.

"They're trying to prove if we've gotten any personal gain, but that will be easy to disprove," Mr. Craig said. 

He is hopeful the nonprofit can find funding to help reopen the center until next month when rental payments typically have covered expenses. The association is awaiting $3,000 in promised in donations from Bud Light and Key Bank after its festival last month. Another $20,000 is being sought as an emergency measure from the Toledo Community Foundation. 

"There is a 50 percent chance this could be the end of using the building," Mr. Craig said.

Contact Matt Thompson at: mthompson@theblade.com, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.

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