ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - A nonprofit that claimed to recycle "high-end kitchens and luxury home goods," then donate the proceeds to other charitable organizations, has been shut down, according to an announcement from Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.
According to the announcement, the Kitchen Kingz Corporation and its president Mitchell Helling, will be required to pay back misused funds, permanently banned from operating a charity, having access to charitable assets, or soliciting charitable contributions in Minnesota.
Kitchen Kingz claimed to operate a recycling program in which donors could have the nonprofit remove the items from their home to be re-purposed and sold, claiming to then use the proceeds to help charities like Secondhand Hounds and Prevent Child Abuse America.
However, an investigation found the company had not donated any funds to any charitable beneficiaries a full two years after its formation, and Helling used at least $19,501.63 of Kitchen Kingz’s assets for his personal benefit, according to the announcement. Helling will be required to pay back the amount he used for his personal benefit.
"Minnesotans are generous people who want to help others. As Minnesota’s chief regulator of charitable organizations, it’s my job to ensure nonprofits that raise money for charitable purposes put them to proper use," Ellison said in a statement. "Mitchell Helling abused Minnesotans’ trust and took advantage of their desire to help others when he used their charitable contributions for his own personal benefit. This settlement ensures the money he misused on himself will in fact be used to help others, and that he can never do anything like this again."
In addition to the permanent charitable-sector ban, Helling is also subject to a penalty of $25,000 if he violates any term of the settlement.
Minnesotans with concerns about nonprofit directors putting their own interests before a charity’s interests can file a complaint online or call 800.657.3787.