COLUMBUS – Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced Friday a settlement with three officials from the Driven Foundation, a Columbus non-profit organization, accused of misusing charitable donations for personal benefit. One of those officials was a former Ohio State football player.
“When the label on the cookie jar states that its contents are for charitable purposes, you can’t go sticking your hand in it to take for yourself,” Yost said. “Charities have rules and guidelines their employees need to follow and these three did not.”
Roy Hall, Josselyn Timko and Sonya Edwards all used a company credit card for expenditures unrelated to the charitable purpose of Driven. From January 2016 through May 2018, and for unspecified reasons, Hall also used a debit card and withdrew cash from another bank account linked to Driven.
Under the terms of the settlement, Hall agreed to pay a civil fine of $5,000; Timko agreed to pay a civil fine of $1,000; Edwards agreed to pay a civil fine of $500; and Driven agreed to pay a civil fine of $2,500.
Driven also agreed to implement various new internal control protections as well as keeping an accurate and complete record of all expenses for a minimum of three years following each expense, including the name of the person making the expense and the purpose of the expense as it relates to Driven’s stated charitable purpose.
Hall, a former professional and collegiate football player at Ohio State, started the Roy Hall Driven Foundation in 2009. The organization changed its name to the Driven Foundation in 2010.
According to Yost's office, Hall received cash in exchange for personal autographs when it was unclear whether he was appearing on his personal behalf as a private individual or as a representative of Driven. He also made public speaking appearances under circumstances in which it was unclear whether he was appearing on his own behalf as a private individual or as a representative of Driven.
No paper trail existed to differentiate the two.
Driven’s stated mission is to provide, “multiple outreach events, motivational messages, and mentorship and fitness programs to families and youths throughout central Ohio and surrounding cities.”
Since the time of Driven’s incorporation to present, its board of directors has not held any meetings, voted on any resolutions, authorized any pay, nor taken any other official action as a board of directors. Driven’s board has existed in name only.
The investigation stemmed from a public complaint made in August 2018.
Suspected charitable fraud should be reported to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or 800-282-0515.