I-Team: Chardon Healing Fund

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CHARDON, Ohio --Documents obtained by the Fox 8 I-Team shed new light on the controversial Chardon Healing Fund, which is the focus of a contentious lawsuit filed by the families of the students killed in the February 2012 shootings at Chardon High School.

A list of items and programs paid for by the fund reveals that among other things, $1,100 was spent on a breakfast, where the parent of a Virginia Tech massacre victim spoke to community members.

According to the documents, $990 was spent for relaxation and grief CDs for an alternative healing night and $2,700 for 'Actively Caring for People' wristbands, mileage and tolls.

The parents of Russell King, Jr.; Demetrius Hewlin; and Danny Parmertor, the three teenagers killed in the shootings, have sued the administrators of the fund, which collected $960,000 in donations after the tragedy.

While the fund continues to pay for events and programs to aid in the healing of the Chardon community, Russell King’s mother testified on Friday at a hearing on the lawsuit, saying the families of the victims were cut off from any benefits one year after the loss of their sons.

"I think all of us, the ones that lost our sons, should have been treated one way. There's no comparison to the community of how they will heal and how we'll heal," said Jeannie King.

In response to questions from the I-Team, Jenna Snyder, spokesperson for the United Way of Greater Cleveland, said the board of the Chardon Healing Fund sought the advice of experts on similar tragedies, and sought to support programs and events that aided in the healing of the community.

According to testimony from Friday’s hearing in Geauga County Probate Court, the families of the victims were told they had been healed and no longer needed the fund.

"They can continue to cover the community for ten years because there's a problem there. What am I? I'm the mother of a child who was killed," said King.

Judge Tim Grendell is now supervising how the money in the fund is being spent and will ultimately decide who receives the remaining money.

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