The District’s Office of the Attorney General on Thursday announced a $10,000 settlement with Ronald L. Moten, co-founder of the anti-violence youth group Peaceoholics, ending an investigation into allegations of improper use of city funds by the organization.
The settlement resolves a 2013 lawsuit filed by the attorney general against Peaceoholics and its founders, Moten and Jauhar Abraham. The city claimed that the group won grants based on false tax returns and misappropriated city grant money for personal use in 2009 and 2010.
In 2014, a D.C. Superior Court judge ruled that Abraham diverted city funds to buy two SUVs and entered a default judgement against the organization, ordering Abraham to pay $639,000.
Moten, 46, has said he did not manage the group’s finances and that none of the grant funds went to his personal use.
As part of the settlement with the city, Moten agreed to pay $200 a month until he reaches $10,000. Under the terms of the agreement, he does not admit any liability or wrongdoing. Moten is prohibited from serving in any financial management role of any nonprofit organization in the District.
“Mr. Moten has been a great asset in empowering our community’s youth, and should be able to utilize those skills, especially at a time when our city’s young people could use his talents,” Attorney General Karl A. Racine said in a statement. “We believe we have put sufficient mechanisms in place to ensure what happened at Peaceoholics does not happen again. It’s time for Mr. Moten to be cleared to do what he does best: mentor, guide, advocate and inspire our youth.”
Peaceoholics disbanded in 2011. But for nearly 20 years, Moten and the group were on the forefront of efforts to quash violence, meeting with residents and gang members.
In an interview Thursday, Moten called the settlement with the city a “relief” and said he will now be able to focus on working with the city’s youths. He said the past few years have been challenging because of the legal troubles.
“I lost my house, my car, but I kept doing the work hoping that my name would be cleared,” he said.
“If you look at any nonprofit, you will find mistakes. I did the work. But I didn’t manage the money,” said Moten, who was also the organization’s chief operating officer.
“I just want to do what I’ve been doing to uplift the people in the community that needs me the most.”
In recent months, Moten has worked on anti-gang-violence initiatives with the Jack Kemp Foundation and the Contemporary Family Services, he said.
Most recently, Moten was active in the response to separate killings of two 15-year-olds at the Deanwood Metro station in Northeast. Moten helped organize a candlelight vigil on behalf of Davonte Washington, the teen who was fatally shot on March 26. Earlier this week, Moten met with teens to squash any retaliation following the fatal stabbing of John Rufus Evans III on Monday.
“Our youth have lost a whole lot by us not being there. The magnitude of us not being out there is missed,” Moten said.