Former Council Member Agrees To Repay Charity Expenses

Aug 4, 2017

Former Columbus City Council member Michelle Mills has reportedly agreed to repay up to $44,000 in questionable expenses she made while leading a local charity that works to help low-income people.

A board member for St. Stephen's Community House tells the Columbus Dispatch that none of the expenses appeared to rise to a criminal level, and the case will not be forwarded to law enforcement. The board member declined to give more details.

Mills' attorney says many expenses came from charity-related travel and meals.

Mills resigned from St. Stephens in June after being placed on leave by the charity. At the time, an attorney for St. Stephen’s said Mills was put on leave after charity trustees saw some expenditures lacked documentation.

St. Stephen’s Community House was formed to help low-income people in the Linden neighborhood.

Mills resigned from council in 2015 after initially failing to report a trip paid for by John Raphael, a former city hall lobbyist who was later convicted of extortion.

Mills joined three other council members on the trip, and she was the only one who didn’t immediately reimburse Raphael for the trip or disclose it on ethics forms as a gift. In February, she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor ethics violation and was given a $250 fine.