The Tennessee attorney general has joined the investigation into two property managers accused of hoarding tornado relief supplies for the Auburn Hills mobile home park in Ooltewah.
Kimberly and Steven West were arrested last week and charged with theft over $60,000 and criminal conspiracy to commit theft over $60,000. Kimberly West was arrested again on Tuesday and charged with two felony counts of coercion of a witness after allegedly asking residents to sign a document stating that the Wests had provided them with aid after the storm.
The Hamilton County District Attorney's Office asked the state attorney general to assist in the investigation to determine whether there has been a violation of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act, Tennessee attorney general spokeswoman Samantha Fisher confirmed.
The act protects consumers and businesses from unfair or deceptive business practices.
Kimberly West declined comment when approached by Times Free Press reporters at the management office Wednesday.
In Hamilton County court documents, investigators allege Kimberly West told a married couple that they'd need to sign a document stating that the Wests had provided them with aid after the storm before she would provide them with hotel accommodations. The couple needed to stay in a hotel while their home was repaired from storm damage.
Last week, investigators with the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office seized more than $60,000 in donations ranging from 54 Red Cross totes to an unopened generator that was meant for the residents of the park, many of whom were displaced after Easter Sunday's EF3 tornado that claimed the life of one of their own.
Over the past two weeks, the Times Free Press spoke to several of those people, all of whom expressed concern about how management was handling recovery from the tornado. None agreed to identify themselves, citing fear over their immigration status or retaliation from management.
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