Raoul sues charity for Lombard veterans for use of funds; the founders say ‘we’re not going anywhere’

The founders of a Lombard-based charity that pledged to help returning veterans get back on their feet are being sued in Cook County by Attorney General Kwame Raoul, who alleges they embezzled more of $10,000 from the charity.

Priscilla and Todd Olshefski formed the Veterans Christian Network Inc. in March 2018 and failed to register with the Attorney General’s office as required by law and failed to file the reports required by law regarding the organization’s charitable activities, according to the lawsuit.

An investigation by Raoul’s office found that it was unclear whether any of the $28,000 collected and deposited in an organizational bank account controlled by the Olshefskis had been used for programs benefiting veterans.

The Olshefskis say they have helped veterans with vehicle and medical expenses and are about to start a “Tiny Homes community project” to give homeless veterans and their families a place to live.

“The defendants took advantage of people who thought their donations would support the men and women who serve our country,” Raoul said. “I filed this lawsuit to ensure VCN operators are held accountable for stealing veterans funds – and using them for their own purposes.”

The lawsuit alleges the Olshefskis withdrew at least $10,000 and spent it on items unrelated to the organization.

“This $10,000 that is supposedly embezzled is my wife and I’s money that we lent to the organization and that was used to open the office, buy furniture, wall panels and things for the office,” Todd Olshefski, 50, said Tuesday. “If the Attorney General says we embezzled, I’m sorry. That’s a barefaced lie. I can do whatever I want with my money.”


Based on his own calculations, Todd Olshefski said he believed the organization actually owed him and his wife more than $30,000 of their savings.

Raoul also said that Todd Olshefski had a criminal history of fraud or theft.

“He demonizes my husband because of his criminal history,” said Priscilla Olshefski, 60. “He had written a few bad checks. He paid for it. He went to court for it and he went to jail for it and we paid it all back.”

The lawsuit seeks to remove Todd and Priscilla Olshefski from the operations of the organization and bar each of its directors from managing future charitable activities.

“It’s… playing with the wrong… people. We’re… fighters,” Priscilla said. “We’re not going anywhere. We’re fighting till the end. For my dead body, baby.”

The attorney general’s office is also asking for a full accounting of the charity’s funds, including any funds the Olshefskis withdrew money from or used for expenses unrelated to the organization’s mission. In addition, Raoul asks the court to hold them accountable for any funds misappropriated or for which they are unable to account.

“Our administrators are on us like white on rice to make sure we run legitimately,” Todd Olshefski said. “They can see what they want, and we will win.”

Deputy Bureau Chief Barry Goldberg, Senior Deputy Attorney General Kristin Louis and Deputy Attorney General Pooja Shah are handling the case for Raoul’s Charitable Trust Bureau.

Todd Olshefski said he expects the couple to hire a lawyer within the next few weeks to a month.

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