Accused Minister Defends Charity
SCRANTON — A man in Scranton calling himself a minister is being accused of running a phony charity for homeless children and child abuse prevention.
Several people filed a lawsuit Monday against Troy Leitner saying they were hired by him to raise funds but now believe his cause is bogus.
Troy Leitner displayed the t-shirts he`s had made listing the names of several businesses here in Lackawanna County.
Calling himself “Minister Troy” and the founder of the Brotherhood of Christianity, he says he gives out these t-shirts in exchange for donations to his charity.
“We just go out here to get these people behind us by becoming a member of our organization. For a membership you get t-shirt that says your name on the back of the shirt that you stand behind child abuse and we give them plaques for their walls as a member,” said Leitner.
Leitner says he`s raising money to help homeless children and to prevent child abuse.
Chante Ayers, Tichelle Ramirez, and Latoya Shafe say they believe Leitner is running scam.
They say they worked for Leitner, putting in more than 40 hours a week, collecting money for the Brotherhood.
They wore Leitner`s t-shirts, which they felt meant he had corporate backing.
However they say when Leitner told them they wouldn`t be paid, they filed a lawsuit against him.
“That’s why we’re here today, and I’ve been calling all these companies and asking them ‘Did you give money? If you did I apologize because the money isn’t going where it’s supposed to be going’,” said Ayers.
WNEP is listed on the t-shirt but our station was never contacted by Leitner or the Brotherhood.
Leitner admits putting the logo on the t-shirts without station permission but he says is planning to pay his workers.
“People have been paid,”said Leitner. “The ones that haven`t been paid we told them that, the way it works is that we`re waiting for our federal id number from the government.”
When asked why he didn’t wait for the red tape to be squared away before he started collecting money, Leitner says he had a permit from the city of Scranton to fundraiser for his charity.
Leitner’s employees believe the money`s not going where Leitner says it is something he denies.
“The money goes to help these kids that are helpless on the street. That`s where it`s going, we feed them, we clothe them,” said Leitner.
Leitner said he wanted to have his charity included in a fundraiser at Walgreens in Scranton this past Saturday.
However a manager says the cops were called to remove Leitner after he became rude to customers.