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VFW National Home for Children in Eaton Rapids sued by two veterans

The Veterans of Foreign Warns National Home for Children in Eaton Rapids
Posted at 2:05 PM, Oct 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-29 14:05:29-04

EATON RAPIDS, Mich. — The Veterans of Foreign Wars National Home for Children in Eaton Rapids has been sued by two veterans alleging misconduct by an employee of the home that wasn't adequately addressed by staff.

The lawsuits claim that, in order to avoid eviction, they had to attend meetings every week with a liaison mentor named Benjamin Marosi, who they say lied about being a veteran and would drink alcohol and use crack cocaine in front of them and try to push it on them, as well.

Daniel Cherrin, the spokesperson for VFW National Home for Children, said they notified the police about the activities occurring on their campus once they learned about the issues and that they started an investigation of activities that were in violation of their code of conduct.

"The status of being a veteran is very sacred to our organization. The VFW National Home for Children serves as a living memorial to America's veterans by helping the nation's military and veteran families during difficult times," Cherrin said in an email. "A former employee misled us about his veteran status and violated our trust and the trust of our families that worked with him."

Two veterans have filed a lawsuit against the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Home for Children in Eaton Rapids.
Two veterans have filed a lawsuit against the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Home for Children in Eaton Rapids.

Denver Dalton, a Purple Heart veteran of the Iraq War moved to the VFW facility in Eaton Rapids with his family in 2018 from Tennessee. Army veteran Robert Marvin who was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan moved with his family to the facility in the spring of 2015. Both suffer from severe post-traumatic stress disorder according to the lawsuit and hoped the programs offered at the home would help them with their PTSD.

According to documents, the VFW would conduct reviews periodically and Dalton and Marvin were threatened with eviction if they did not perform well, even though it was never clear what their goals were or what they needed to do well.

The men were required to attend meetings with Marosi weekly, but at many of those meetings he would consume alcohol and use crack cocaine, according to the lawsuit, and would push the drug and alcohol on the veterans.

Both men tried to stop attending the meetings but were both threatened with eviction if they did not attend.

Lawsuit filed against VFW National Home for Children in Eaton Rapids
Lawsuit filed against VFW National Home for Children in Eaton Rapids

According to documents, because of Marosi’s actions, Dalton and Marvin relapsed in their sobriety and their PTSD was exacerbated.

Dalton and Marvin went to the VFW’s home's president at the time, Fred Puffenberger, about Marosi but say they were told to keep quiet and not disclose any information until the VFW could come up with a resolution according to documents.

The documents also state that Puffenberger pulled Marosi’s personnel file in front of Marvin and it was discovered that a background check was never completed for Marosi.

Two veterans filed lawsuits against VFW National Home for Children in Eaton Rapids.
Two veterans filed lawsuits against VFW National Home for Children in Eaton Rapids.

The document says quote “Mr. Puffenberger stated that he could not understand why Defendant Marosi's personnel file was so small given that all employees were supposed to undergo extensive background checks.”

Puffenberger's LinkedIn page says he retired from the home this month.

The lawsuits say that both men were fearful that Marosi would try to harm them or their families, but the facility did not take them seriously. When Marosi found out Dalton reported him, Marosi made death threats against him, the lawsuit said.

Marvin and his family stayed at hotels and a local campground because of their fear of Marosi, while Dalton and his family stayed at a campground for more than 45 days.

Dalton did change the locks on their residence where they still keep their belongings due to fear of Marosi but that led to an eviction notice from the VFW.

FOX47 News reached out to Marosi but he couldn’t be reached for comment. We also reached out to Chelsea Lenard, the attorney for both veterans and their families but she declined to discuss the case.

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Cali Montana

Cali Montana

2:27 PM, Jan 20, 2021

Charlotte & Eaton Rapids

Neighborhood Reporter

Cali Montana

FOX 47 News Neighborhood Newsletter