Detroit Free Press columnist and best-selling author Mitch Albom and a charity he established are being sued in a dispute over who owns and controls an orphanage located in Port Au Prince, Haiti.
The Caring and Sharing Mission and several plaintiffs involved with running the orphanage filed a lawsuit in Oakland County Circuit Court Tuesday against Albom and his charity, A Hole In The Roof Foundation, alleging fraud and misrepresentation regarding the "intent of taking over the title and real estate ownership interest of the plaintiffs," the Detroit News reports.
The legal action follows a restraining order filed by Albom's charity about two months ago against its operators for not honoring their contract and putting the roughly 30 to 40 youth who use the facility at risk, according to the News.
Rev. John Hearn, Sr., one of the plaintiffs in the case, founded the mission in the 1980s. Albom and his foundation took part-ownership of it in 2010 and began calling it the Have Faith Haiti Mission. They got involved in the aftermath of a destructive earthquake, promising to help provide food, basic medical needs, electricity, water, staff and security to the orphanage.
“I prayed that I would live to see this day,” told Albom in his Free Press column at that time. “These children have suffered so much. This will make a huge difference.”
Since entering an operating agreement with the mission Albom's organization has installed a new kitchen, dining room, bathrooms, showers in the facility and built a schoolhouse on the site, according to his Free Press column.
Albom's A Hole in the Roof Foundation is a 501(c)3 charity organization established in 2009 to raise money to help various faith groups repair and take care of the places where they worship.