CHARDON, Ohio — A judge on Friday afternoon heard from the families of three teens killed at Chardon High School last year, as they continue to move forward with a lawsuit against the United Way and the Chardon Healing Fund.
A hearing was held Friday afternoon in Geauga County Common Pleas Court.
The families of Demetrius Hewlin, Daniel Parmertor and Russell King, Jr., claim that of the $952,000 donated to the Chardon Healing Fund, they have only received less than $150,000 and that requests for more money have been denied.
Dina Parmertor said her family used the benefits to pay their mortgage and expenses, but after six months, they received a notification that the payments would be ending.
“They said after six months that they were done, we were done, we healed and we were just sort of done, and you know I wasn’t working yet, I wasn’t back to work, my husband wasn’t working,” said Parmertor
During the hearing, Parmertor said when her family notified representatives of the fund that they still needed help, they were told the assistance would be continued for another six months and then would end, even though there was still a substantial amount of money left in the fund.
Jeannie King said grief over the loss of her son Russell forced her to quit her job after 28 years. She believes the fund’s decision to use donated money to pay for suicide prevention programs and to help pay for a resource officer at Chardon High School comes at the expense of the families.
“I’m not in the same position, so for them to say, ‘ok, you’re done after a year,’ no, I just started counseling and that’s not their problem, right, but they can continue to cover the community for ten years because there’s a problem there,” said King. “What am I? I’m the mother of a child who was killed.”
Attorneys for the United Way and the Healing Fund said the funds are not only for the students killed, but for the survivors’ medical expenses and the community as well.
They denied any wrongdoing and said the plaintiffs filed the lawsuit only after the one year agreed time to pay their immediate expenses expired.
A Geauga County judge last month placed an immediate order to freeze the money in the fund pending the outcome of the case.
Dina Parmertor: Board member repeatedly said to victims’ families, “this is your money.”
Dina Parmertor: We learned about Chardon Healing Fund two weeks after tragedy. Board member said they’d contact us to inform us of the details. He never did.
Dina Parmertor: We really want some answers. We feel we were left out of the situation, the loop.
Danny Parmertor’s mom just took the stand.
Attorney says parents expected to talk about requests made to Chardon Healing Fund.
Judge goes over the motion with the court.
Judge: Does someone as a community participant have a disagreement with the fund?