- Associated Press - Friday, December 18, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Ohio Attorney General’s Office is investigating alleged financial mismanagement involving the founder of one of the state’s best-known anti-addictions social services agencies, a woman once honored by the governor for her work, documents show.

The allegations against JoAnna Krohn of Portsmouth are spelled out in a request for a protective order filed in Scioto County Court by Portsmouth-based SOLACE Inc. in southern Ohio.

The Dec. 10 filing seeks to bar Krohn from coming near the organization, talking to its members and portraying herself as representing the group.

Krohn has been outspoken in the fight against addictions in her southern Ohio community since the 2008 suicide of her son that she blamed on drugs.

Gov. John Kasich cited SOLACE’s work for bringing the problem of painkillers to his attention as he campaigned for governor in 2010. Krohn received a Governor’s Courage Medal from Kasich during his first State of the State speech in 2012. A message was left Friday with Kasich’s office.

SOLACE opened new office space in Portsmouth in 2012 with $58,000 in federal grants awarded by the state’s drug and alcohol addiction services agency.

Krohn, 52, said through her attorney she believes her removal was improper.

Krohn “unequivocally denies any wrongdoing and plans on pursuing each and every legal remedy to right this injustice,” attorney Matt Loesch told The Associated Press Friday.

A lawyer for SOLACE emphasized that Krohn was placed on leave and not dismissed, and that the agency is open and serving clients.

“We’re not saying anyone’s done anything wrong,” said attorney Rick Faulkner. “We’re just saying someone needs to explain apparent discrepancies in how things have been handled.”

Krohn has made or published statements harmful to SOLACE, its employees and clients since the SOLACE board placed her on unpaid administrative leave last month, according to the protective order filing.

Statements include “threatening and harassing texts and postings on Facebook and social media causing financial concerns and concerns for daily operations and provisions of services to clients,” the filing said.

Krohn denied those allegations through her attorney.

SOLACE is also seeking a protective order against Krohn’s son, Blake Crabtree, saying he threatened to kill everyone at the agency in a Nov. 23 phone call if his mother went to prison, according to the filing against Crabtree.

Crabtree, 30, who was fired by SOLACE, denied the allegation Friday. “That’s 100 percent false,” he told the AP. He said was he was an agency case manager and head of transportation.

On Nov. 3, Krohn and SOLACE were ordered to produce numerous financial records by the charitable division of the Attorney General’s office, including bank statements, canceled checks, deposit slips and tax returns, the protective order filing said.

The decision to place Krohn on leave began with an Aug. 23 letter from a former SOLACE employee “identifying issues of financial mismanagement and improper hiring,” according to a Dec. 2 letter from SOLACE’s then lawyer, Richard Wolfson to an attorney representing Krohn at the time.

Scioto County Judge Howard Harcha scheduled Monday hearings on SOLACE’s request for both protective orders.

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Andrew Welsh-Huggins can be reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/awhcolumbus. His work can be found at https://bigstory.ap.org/content/andrew-welsh-huggins

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