On Feb. 15, Attorney General John Kroger filed a lawsuit [PDF] against the Oregon War Veterans Association, accusing director Greg Warnock of diverting $690,000 of the non-profit's money to personal use.
Earlier, Ross Day, a lawyer representing OWVA, called the lawsuit a "political stunt." Day said Kroger's lawsuit aimed to discredit an organization that is active in supporting conservative causes.
Day adds that he thinks the Department of Justice is trying to prove a link between OWVA and Loren Parks, the reclusive medical supplies tycoon. Day will neither confirm nor deny whether Parks is an OWVA funder.
Last night, the OWVA, which Warnock founded in 2003, responded more fully to the lawsuit with this statement:
Salem—Today, the Oregon War Veterans Association (OWVA) responded to a lawsuit filed on Tuesday, February 15, 2010 at a press conference held at the Capital. Current President, Captain Ken Jacroux USNR-R, issued a statement that was read at the press conference. He wrote, “I wish to go on record that regarding recent allegations of inappropriate use of OWVA funds, that OWVA has operated totally above board and within the scope of a charitable 501 (C) (19) war veterans organization. All expenditures directed toward special projects and all support efforts by OWVA have been appropriated and ratified by the BOD. Without question, the organizations officers and director have served above reproach in the handling of all donor contributions since day one.”
In addition, a statement was read which was written by OWVA members Dick Tobiason and Medal of Honor Recipient Robert Maxwell. They wrote, “As members of the Oregon War Veterans Association, we are deeply concerned that Oregon's Department of Justice/Attorney General would take any action to curtail or criticize OWVA's role in assisting Oregon's veterans and their families. We are very proud of OWVA Executive Director Greg Warnock's professional conduct, leadership, and personal sacrifices that have led to more than seventy significant laws that benefit veterans and families. We wonder if any other Oregon veterans group has equaled that extraordinary accomplishment.”
The OWVA has been an advocate for veteran issues in Oregon since 2003. They have been highly
successful in opposing abuses of vets and solving systemic problems facing veterans and military
members in Oregon, through legislative and political influence. They have also spearheaded many state- wide charitable events, like recently raising funds to bring stranded troops home for Christmas, and sending disabled veterans to the Paralympics in Vancouver, BC, in 2010. Brigadier General Mike Caldwell of the Oregon Military department has said this, “OWVA has proven to be a valuable resource to the Oregon National Guard, providing goods and services to help to eliminate stress to our soldiers and their families by always offering a helping hand wherever and whenever possible. I asked for their help because the public knows them and supports their efforts to help our troops.”
Prior to filing the suit, the OWVA offered to allow the AG’s office to speak with the board of directors, as well as the treasurer. However, the Attorney General at no time spoke to any of the directors. The position of the OWVA is that the AG’s office acted with an erroneous understanding of the facts as well as an incorrect understanding of the law. When all relevant information is brought to light, the OWVA is confident that they will prevail.