‘LA Times’ Says 9/11 Funds Are Missing

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(AP) The Los Angeles Times said Thursday in a letter to its readers that about $65,000 was stolen from donations to the newspaper’s Sept. 11 disaster relief fund.

In a full-page letter to customers, Los Angeles Times Publisher John Puerner said the missing money came from credit card contributions that were diverted from disaster relief agencies.

The fraud allegedly occurred sometime in January but no arrests have been made, said police officials, who are investigating the case. It was not immediately known how the money was stolen or if there are more cases.

The relief effort, which is part of the McCormick Tribune Foundation, collected about $2.5 million. The campaign was sometimes advertised as a joint campaign of the Times and KTLA-TV, but only contributions sent to the newspaper were found missing. Both the newspaper and the television station are owned by the Tribune Co.

“We deeply regret that this has happened,” Puerner said in the letter. “Be assured that the Los Angeles Times will make corporate contributions to the disaster relief fund to replace all funds misdirected by the fraud.”

Times spokeswoman Martha Goldstein said the newspaper was alerted to the problem after two donors brought the credit card fraud to their attention.

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