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Veterans charity settles lawsuit

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By The Associated Press
Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

SAN FRANCISCO — A California veterans charity that supplies arts and crafts to hospitalized servicemen and women agreed on Friday to pay $2.45 million and purge its leadership to settle a lawsuit filed by the state alleging misuse of funds.

State Attorney General Kamala Harris filed the suit last year because Legislative hearings suggested leaders of Help Hospitalized Veterans were paying executives too much and spending funds on golf membership and a condominium.

Harris said the estate of former group President Roger Chapin will pay back the charity $2 million in excessive salary he collected over several years. Chapin died in August.

The current president, Michael Lynch, and four board members will step down and all have agreed to be banned from serving a charity again in an executive capacity.

The charity's lawyers didn't return calls for comment.

“It's unconscionable that Help Hospitalized Veterans officials misused charitable money intended for those who served and have sacrificed for our country,” Harris said.

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