Non-profit accused of using homeless veterans as front to raise money for executive director

A non-profit that works to place veterans on a path to home ownership is under investigation by the North Carolina Attorney General's Office. 

Veterans Path Up places veterans into housing to rent, with the intentions of helping them build their credit to later purchase the property.

A complaint was filed against the organization by two-former board members, Alan Elam and Jim Schuler, alleging the non-profit is being used as a front for the executive director to gain money.

"He has used veterans to dupe the general public into donating money," Elam said.

The complaint claims that "the charity is using homeless veterans as a front to raise money for the executive director."

It goes on to say that the executive director is, "...using the non-profit like a personal bank account. He has had the charity pay for dental work, car license renewals, his daughter to accompany him on the cruises, new car, diamond ring for his wife and for trips."

The executive director is Ken Lacy, who denies all allegations in the complaint.

"It's a very bold statement and it's totally false," Lacy said.

Lacy said that Elam, the former treasurer, is responsible for creating a mess with the non-profit's records of donations.

"It was a painstakingly, arduous task but they've been accounted for," Lacy said about a number of donations.

Lacy makes $96,000 a year. In five years, the non-profit has placed veterans into six homes. At least three of those homes (surplus properties) were donated to the non-profit by the City of Charlotte.

"The properties provided to VPU were renovated and used to house veterans, so the organization fulfilled its obligations per that agreement," city of Charlotte spokesperson Keith Richardson said. 

The Attorney General's Office is currently reviewing documentation it demanded and received from VPU for its investigation. 

"We want people to contribute to non-profits that help veterans but you have to make sure that you're giving it to an organization that is actually going to help the veterans that we so desperately need to support," NC Attorney General Josh Stein said.