CROCKETT, TX (KTRE) - Houston County's senior citizens center closed after financial issues cropped up, including a $70,000 lawsuit for unpaid groceries was made public. A fundraiser was held Saturday to feed county seniors, but seemed to get overshadowed by a rift between the organizers and the center's administration.
"There's a lot of questions I want answers to. I'm not going to stop until I get them," said Loleta Omelina, fundraiser organizer.
Loleta Omelina carried a big jar around, asking Wal-Mart shoppers to donate. She's helping out local country singer, Pete Miles, who organized the fundraiser.
"The money that I raise is to feed the people nothing more," said Pete Miles.
At first, he worked with the center's director.
"We did give them permission on our stationary letterhead with tax id number to go forward with this at Wal-mart," said Glenna Enos, Director.
The director has become stuck in the middle after financial trouble caused the center's closure.
"About two weeks ago things started turning different..." said Miles.
He says people started questioning how their donations would be spent. Omelina says folks told her the money would pay bills, others told them it would go to pay employee salaries. However, Miles says every dime raised by him was only supposed to feed seniors.
"I wanted to make sure where this money goes," said Omelina.
In between songs, Pete Miles told shoppers their donations would be kept away from the current senior center's administration.
"Reason why we opened a new account and did the new post office box was because all these different stories were coming in and my reputation was one the line. and that's the kind of stuff that ruins careers," said Miles.
When they opened the new account, they wanted to get back donations made prior to the fundraiser.
"Now there's seven thousand dollars that I've raised that they have,"said Miles.
He asked Glenna Enos, the center's director, for the money by Friday afternoon. She says it was too late on a holiday weekend to make anything happen.
"We did have several prior donations - you can't just leave them in the drawer or on the desk. We did tell them we opened up a fundraiser account and the board of directors signs on it. I don't sign on anything," said Enos.
She was shocked by allegations that donations were being misplaced or misused. She even showed KTRE a bank statement with the checks totaling $7,000 deposited.
"These people who have started the fundraiser are doing it from the heart... There isn't any money missing," said Enos.
For now, Miles and Omelina say the center will only get the money once new leadership has taken over.
"Why is it so important? I didn't want them to get it and squander it away," said Omelina.
The Houston County Senior Citizen Center's director, Glenna Enos, says a lot of the misunderstanding can be blamed on lack of communication. Adding, its been hard to get everyone together for meetings or discussions since the center's doors were shut almost a month ago.
By the end of their fundraiser Saturday, Miles says they collected about $838.70 in donation from generous Wal-Mart shoppers.