A college professor in Minnesota who raised over $200,000 in donations for police shooting victim Philando Castile in 2017 has agreed to repay the $120,000 she kept for herself.
Pamela Fergus agreed to repay the attorney general by March 2024. The funds will go to what it was initially intended, to pay off the student lunch debt for St. Paul Public Schools, the Pioneer Press reported.
Last June, the Attorney General’s Office filed an enforcement action against Fergus accusing her of keeping most of the $200,000 she raised in honor of Castile, the St. Paul school worker who was shot and killed by a police officer during a traffic stop in 2016.
While Fergus has agreed to repay the funds, she has yet to admit to any wrongdoing. Prosecutors say Fergus kept around $120,738 raised through her organization “Philando Feeds the Children”, Fox 9 reported.
Fergus claimed her organization would use “every dollar raised” to pay off students’ lunch debts in the city. However, the attorney general’s office says Fergus never registered her charity and failed to keep books and records to document how the funds were allocated.
After raising $200,000, Ellison says Fergus only paid $80,000 to St. Paul Public Schools, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said. Fergus reportedly kept the remaining $120,000 for herself. Now through the repayments, portions of student lunch debt will finally be paid off.
“This settlement helps to ensure that the money donors gave in Philando’s name will go back to where it was intended—to help Saint Paul kids who struggle to pay for school lunches,” Ellison said in a statement.
“Philando Castile cared deeply about the children he served, and the children loved him back. Failing to use every dollar raised to help those children was an insult to Philando’s legacy and all who loved him,” Ellison added.
Fergus’ attorney, MacKenzie Guptil, could not be reached for comment by the Pioneer Press.