Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is going to court on behalf of some local U.S.military veterans. On Thursday, Koster filed a lawsuit against Kendallwood Hospital in Kansas City for its refusal to return more than $39,000 belonging to Honor Flight Network of Kansas City, Inc.
Honor Flight helps World War II veterans and terminally ill veterans from the Korean and Vietnam Wars visit the various war memorials in Washington, DC.
In the lawsuit, Koster contends Kendallwood agreed to hold donations for Honor Flight in a separate bank account with the president and treasurer of the network allowed to withdraw funds to pay for the Washington visits. However, Koster states that in February 2013, without notice to Honor Flight, Kendallwood removed Honor Flight's president and treasurer from the signature card for the account, leaving Honor Flight unable to access their funds.
In response, Honor Flight terminated its arrangement with Kendallwood, and directed the hospital to transfer all remaining funds to the National Honor Flight Network. Despite repeated requests from Honor Flight, according to the lawsuit, Kendallwood has refused.
With a lack of funds, Honor Flight was forced to cancel a planned flight in June of this year that would have transported 54 veterans to see the Memorials. Before the flights could be rescheduled, Honor Flight received word that two of the veterans scheduled to make the trip had died.
Koster said Kendallwood Hospice closed the bank account with the Honor Flight donations of nearly $40,000, and opened an account at a different bank with a Cashier's Check in the exact amount contained in the original account.
"Honor Flight has the single purpose of ensuring that the men and women who risked their lives for our country can visit the memorials that stand in their honor," Koster said. "Withholding funds that good-hearted people have donated to make these trips a reality for veterans is an insult to those who have served our country and secured our freedoms."
As part of the lawsuit, Koster obtained a temporary restraining order freezing the Honor Flight donations within the new account.
The lawsuit accuses Kendallwood of engaging in deceptive and unfair practices, improper use of charitable gifts, and violating Missouri law governing non-profits. It asks the court to demand Kendallwood Hospice distribute all funds collected on behalf of Honor Flight and pay civil penalties and court costs.
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