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Charity Rebounding As Ex-Director's Trial Set To Start

Reported by: Send eMail Dan Matics
Web Producer: Heath Harrison
Reported: Nov. 24, 2013 10:08 PM EST
Updated: Nov. 24, 2013 11:14 PM EST

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Huntington Food Bank
Eyewitness News Photo

Huntington , Cabell County , West Virginia

The trial for a former head of a charity organization is about to get underway.

Leighann Zappin resigned as director of the Huntington Area Food Bank last year, as State Police said she embezzled tens of thousands of dollars.

With the holidays and winter weather, it's a hectic time at the Huntington Area Food Bank.

The charity organization thrives on grants and donations and, as they ask for your help so they can help others, director Tiffany Tatum said it’s her mission to ensure your donation goes to the right place.

"This organization is so revitalized," she said.

Tatum has had to revamp the food bank from the top down, after their former director was arrested.

State Police said Zappin embezzled more than $20,000 from the organization.

Cabell County Prosecutor Chris Chiles has now recused himself from the case.

According to court documents, Zappin's defense team requested a special prosecutor, insisting some sort of feud between the Zappin and Chiles families.
Chiles denied the allegations, but stepped down because has to avoid even the “appearance” of a conflict of interest.

Eyewitness News reached out to the prosecutor’s office to get their take on the matter. Our phone calls have not yet been returned.

As news of this trial continues to unfold during the giving season, Tatum makes it clear.

“The challenge is to install a new culture here," she said.

And the numbers said she's done just that, so far. They've been able to provide $300,000 more meals than this time last year.

Zappin is scheduled to be in court at the first of the year.



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