Florida Trust Fund Firm Loses Over $100 Million Intended for Disabled Children, Leaving Hundreds of Families Devastated

By Trisha Andrada

Mar 21, 2024 08:12 AM EDT

A Florida special needs non-profit went bankrupt, losing hundreds of families' trust fund worth more than $100 million intended for their disabled children.  

Last month, the Center for Special Needs Trust Administration (CSNTA) in Tampa, Florida, declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It came two years after the organization's leadership discovered the disappearance of a staggering wealth meant to assist children with special needs.

According to the Daily Mail, the organization discovered that its founders had borrowed millions of dollars from the designated fund for children with disabilities throughout its 11 years of operation and had never paid it back.

The bankruptcy of a Florida special needs nonprofit wiped away hundreds of families' $100 million trust funds for their disabled children. 
(Photo : Meruyert Gonullu / Pexels)

Family Reported Stolen Funds in Florida Special Needs Non-Profit

Parents Kimberly and Richard Muszynski told WFLA they reported the stolen funds to the authorities 10 years ago. After their daughter Abagalye was born with the fatal Aicardi syndrome, the Muszynski family allegedly got more than $800,000 in a wrongful birth lawsuit that was settled in 2013. 

Tragically, the kid passed away last November at the age of 11 after suffering cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and blindness. The money from their case was awarded to Abagayle's care, and their lawyers told them to put it in a trust with the CSNTA after they received it.

However, they noticed something was off within a year when they failed to get tax documents or accounting as promised. An internal audit was conducted with the help of a clerk and comptroller instead. The audit revealed a loss between $250,000 and $350,000 out of the trust's original balance of over $800,000.

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Bankruptcy Filing of Florida Special Needs Non-Profit Organization

Following the CSNTA bankruptcy filing, an extensive audit was conducted, which revealed that the family that had been most affected had more than $4.5 million stolen from their bank account.

The current status of the criminal inquiry against founders Leo Govoni and John Staunton, who reportedly borrowed the money, remains uncertain.

All of the board members stepped down after the center's bankruptcy filing last month, and spokesperson Beth Leytham said they are still working to recover the missing funds. According to the filing, the federal government is appointing a trustee to handle the center's remaining $100 million fund.

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