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New allegations filed in Kingdom Kids lawsuit
Justice

New allegations have been made in the lawsuit involving the wife of a local charity CEO accused of using her “position of trust” within the organization to divert funds for her own personal use.

On July 22, lawyers representing Kingdom Kids Charity and its CEO, Kevin Ford, alleged that over an unknown time period Jodi Ford, a volunteer employee of Kingdom Kids Charity and wife of Kevin Ford, may have embezzled $130,000 in charitable donations.

Kingdom Kids Charity Inc., according to the original lawsuit, was started in 2009 to “improve the quality of life for children facing challenging circumstances” and had as its primary fundraiser the annual event Lily’s Run, which was started in 2009 to support Lily Anderson, a Forsyth County resident who had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer at the age of 8.

In documents filed with the Forsyth County Superior Court on Wednesday, Jodi Ford, fired back against her husband, claiming that as CEO, Kevin Ford opened, controlled and maintained all of the banking accounts where Kingdom Kids funds were held.

The complaint alleges that Ford “directed, oversaw and was aware of all financial transactions conducted” by the charity, “including the transfer of $10,000 of Kingdom Kids funds” to How I Give Back, another Georgia wish-fulfillment that Ford reportedly founded in 2016.

“These funds were not for any charitable purpose, but rather for the formation and development of How I Give Back,” the complaint states.

Lawyers also state that as her former employer, Kevin Ford owes his wife the “common law duty” to defend her for actions that arose during her tenure as an employee, and if Jodi Ford is found liable at trial, she is entitled to “indemnification” for all losses and expenses of litigation.

On Friday, attorney Logan Butler, who will represent Kingdom Kids at trial, denied the new allegations in a statement to the Forsyth County News.

“Kingdom Kids is aware of the third-party complaint filed against Mr. Kevin Ford,” Butler said in the statement. “Kingdom Kids will continue to seek reimbursement from Jodi Ford as it had tried to do prior to filing its lawsuit.”

As reported previously by the FCN, following the filling of Kingdom Kids Charity Inc. v. Jodi Ford, the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office embarked on an investigation into the misappropriation of funds and identity fraud allegedly perpetrated by Kevin and Jodi Ford.

The allegation of identity fraud, according to sheriff’s office reports, stems from claims that Kevin Ford, the charity’s CEO, used “identifying information of volunteers and employees and listed them as board members without their consent or knowledge in order to qualify for IRS exemptions.”

According to data from the Georgia Secretary of State’s Corporations Division, aside from CEO Kevin Ford, the Kingdom Kids Charity Inc., officer list includes two other individuals, a CFO and secretary.

One of the individuals, who was listed as CFO of Kingdom Kids, previously told the FCN that she was only a regular volunteer with the yearly Lily’s Run event and had no participation in the operation of Kingdom Kids.

She also stated that after the lawsuit was filed both Jodi and Kevin Ford contacted her, each stating the other had listed her as CFO without her consent.

Another individual, who was listed as the charity’s secretary, did not return the FCN’s request for comment, but a source close to the organization disputed the individual’s title, stating it too was likely conferred to her without her knowledge.

Previously a sheriff's office spokesman told the FCN that investigators had been alerted to the allegations made against Jodi Ford, but the case had been moved to an "inactive" or “unfounded” status because the alleged victim, Kevin Ford, had declined to press charges or provide them with any evidence of wrongdoing.

Later, Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Cpl. Doug Rainwater said the agency had resumed investigations into both Jodi and Kevin Ford after the new allegations.