Veterans nonprofit to pay $1.5M to 12 women

(The Center Square) – The owner of a small Washington-based veterans nonprofit is in hot water after a jury ordered on Thursday that he and the business pay approximately $1.5 million for sexually harassing 12 women.

The decision stems from a civil rights lawsuit filed by the state’s Attorney General, Bob Ferguson, in 2022; his complaint alleged that Thelbert Lawson Jr., CEO and founder of Operation Veterans Assistance & Humanitarian Aid, had violated the Washington Law Against Discrimination.

Lawson’s OVAHA operates two businesses, the Veterans Warehouse Thrift Store in Wenatchee and the Veterans Thrift Store in Kennewick. Both are overseen by a board consisting of himself, his wife and other family members and friends.

“What happened at OVAHA is repulsive, inexcusable and illegal,” Ferguson said in a news release. “I want to thank the workers, volunteers, and members of the public for their courage in speaking up. My team fought for
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