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Five Star Veterans Center settles lawsuit after gambling probe

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Updated: 8/17/2013 7:35 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The red, white and blue building in Arlington houses 20 local veterans who have fallen on hard times. Many of them have traumatic brain injuries or suffer from post traumatic stress disorder.

Earlier this year, there were concerns they'd be put out on the street. The center was run by Allied Veterans of the World, the same organization embroiled in a statewide scandal linked to illegal internet cafes.

Five Star attorney Alan Poucher said the affiliation scared away donors. "No one knows whether the state attorney general might come and seize the bank account. Now, we're free of all that."

Free of that, because a lawsuit between the veterans center and the state attorney general's office has been settled. Public perception should improve.

Col. Len Loving has managed to keep the center open since the Allied Vets bust in March.  Fifty-seven people were arrested after prosecutors said they operated illegal gambling centers, and lined their pockets with millions of dollars that was supposed to go help Colonel Loving's residents.

He said, "We want to close the book. That was history."

History began Friday with a $4,000 donation from the Vietnam Veterans Association.

Poucher said, "All the money, 100 percent of the money that goes into Five Star Veterans will now go to help the veterans."

Many of the people charged in the veterans charity scandal are set to go on trial Sept. 16.

[Special coverage: Veterans Charity Scandal]

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