Wednesday, Sep 26, 2018
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Police & Fire

Fund-raiser suspect gave check to Red Cross


An Oregon man accused of failing to send nearly $7,700 in donations to the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks delivered a check for a similar amount to a local social service agency the day before he turned himself in on a warrant.

Nicholas Hatley gave the donation Wednesday to the Greater Toledo Chapter of the American Red Cross. The funds are for the attack victims, Red Cross spokeswoman Kristen Cajka said yesterday.

Mr. Hatley, 23, of 1000 Reynolds Circle, was arraigned Thursday on a theft charge. He was released on his own recognizance but will be supervised until his next court appearance. His recent donation is not listed as restitution on court records. He is accused of soliciting donations in the form of cash and checks from numerous businesses and individuals during a fund-raiser Sept. 28 at his nightclub, Blu Jeans Cafe at 3606 West Sylvania Ave.

The money, to be sent under the name Operation Unification, was intended for the families of New York City police officers and firefighters killed in the attack. It was acquired through donations and by raffling items given by the businesses, police said.

Mr. Hatley allegedly presented to another organizer copies of checks that he mailed. But she found discrepancies on the checks and brought them to police last month.

Investigators think the money was used for personal reasons. Neither Mr. Hatley nor his attorney could be reached for comment.

Police detectives aren't the only authorities looking into the matter.

"He used his liquor-permit premises, it appears, to commit some kind of crime. Depending on the outcome, hecould be cited before the Liquor Control Commission and could jeopardize his liquor permit," said Earl Mack, agent-in-charge of liquor control enforcement operations in northwest Ohio.

Mr. Mack's office has received complaints. "People are not happy with what did or didn't happen to their money," he said.

Toledo City Councilman Louis Escobar, who attended the fund-raiser, agreed. "I think people are disheartened to think the money didn't go where it was supposed to go."

Greg Knott, the owner of Bretz Bar, 2012 Adams St., took his employees to the event and bought them dinner. He gave big tips and a check for more than $100. He said Mr. Hatley, whom he has known for the last few years, didn't intentionally scam anyone. "He made a bad mistake. He made a bad decision," Mr. Knott said.

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