November 24, 2014

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Goodwill leader responds to allegations of theft

The head of Goodwill Industries of Lorain County said he hopes the organization’s reputation won’t be tarnished by allegations that Goodwill employees were stealing donations.

“We take every accusation of theft seriously,” Goodwill CEO and President Steve Greenwell said Sunday. “Because any dollar that we lose to theft takes away from what our mission is, which is to provide employment training for people in Lorain County.”

A lawsuit filed Friday in Lorain County Common Pleas Court accused Jack Arbogast, Goodwill director of donated goods, and another employee, whose last name was not included, of stealing. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Pamela Dietz, formerly Goodwill’s human resources manager, and claims that Dietz was wrongfully terminated from her job.

The suit also stated employee Larry Abetya in September told Dietz he had been living in Arbogast’s basement and crashed a car he said Arbogast gave him. Abetya said the car had been donated to Goodwill.

He said Arbogast had stolen a boat, several cars, a pool table and speakers that were donated to Goodwill and sold some of the items on eBay. Abetya said an employee named Jessica and her husband also were involved in the thefts.

The lawsuit said Greenwell didn’t believe the accusations and told Dietz not to go to police. Shortly thereafter, Arbogast, who couldn’t be reached Sunday, is accused of trying to intimidate Dietz by telling her he carried a pistol in his car and had used it in the past to “scare somebody.”

In an Oct. 15 police report, Dietz said Abetya told her Arbogast sold the boat and car to salvage yards and sold the other items on eBay. The report said Abetya had received threatening voicemails since talking to Dietz, who is seeking more than $25,000 in damages.

The report said Dietz, fired about a week after filing the report, told police Greenwell was covering for Arbogast and “stonewalled” her. Police spokesman Capt. Roger Watkins on Friday said police found no criminal wrongdoing and closed the investigation.

Greenwell wouldn’t say why Dietz was fired but noted that police found no wrongdoing. He said Goodwill’s policy is that any donated item must be displayed at their stores for at least seven days before an employee can purchase it.

Greenwell said that after Dietz raised questions, records were found showing the car Abetya said Arbogast gave him had been sold by Goodwill. He said the donor was notified and the money deposited into a bank to be used for services. “I hope people will keep an open mind,” he said.

Greenwell said Goodwill, which has a $3.9 million annual budget, 160 full- and part-time employees, and stores in Avon, Avon Lake, Elyria, Lorain, North Ridgeville, Oberlin and Vermilion, is heavily dependent on donations. Services include job training for ex-convicts and welfare recipients, semi-annual job fairs and contracted work by Goodwill employees for local businesses.

About 80 percent of services come from donation.

“It’s just so important to me that we use as much as we can to help with our programs,” Greenwell said.

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.


  • Brian Lumley

    I didn’t realize that Goodwill had a reputation to tarnish. From everything I know about the organization the CEO and his gang do a pretty good job of doing exactly what he’s accusing his employees of doing…

  • DHart

    This is a load of crap. The employees are not allowed to take items. No one is stealing anything out the back door of the building, there are too many employees and someone would notice. Always making something out of nothing. I spoke to the HR lady about an open position, and I am here to tell you she needed to be fired. She was so unprofessional! And now that she is gone, no one returns calls at all, which is prob better, because talking to that woman was like talking to a wall. A very stupid wall. I hope they get some good help soon, maybe they should return phone calls and emails and they would find good people. Why advertise jobs if you’r not going to follow through?

    • HankKwah

      “No one is stealing anything out the back door of the building, there are too many employees and someone would notice.”

      There aren’t that many on in the back at any one time. And if they’re all taking a little something here or there, then no one would say anything.

    • Joe Smith

      LOL!

  • SniperFire

    ‘He said Arbogast had stolen a boat, several cars’

    Very easy to trace and verify, unless they were chopped. But there should still be a paper trail. There are a LOT of Goodwill State and County CEOs making $400K +/-. These people should be held accountable if their organizations are corrupt.

    • Mark B

      Anyone can be rehabilitated

  • Bonnie Pickett

    I had a renter many years ago that was sentenced to community service and he took home furniture and other large items that were donated and sold them at a garage sale at his house. He said they got first pick of the good stuff before it was sold at a store. This was the Lorain Goodwill on Broadway and I don’t know who was in charge then but I never donated anything there because of it.

  • Tim Francis

    wow I will have to look in that store cars and boats

  • Mark Marcie blows Alan Pugh

    This is no different than an employee working at, say Quicken Loans, using the company’s computer and internet to troll C-T websites, like AP or MM. Both are stealing, and in the case of “Mark Marcie”, stealing identities is layered on top.

    • Steven

      ???

    • Steven

      Like Michael mentioned, I’m missing the transition myself. Whats the love you have for Mark Marcie? Are you a troller and instigator, or voicing your opinion too?

    • Steven

      Hey, your screen named changed! Is Alan Pugh embarassed? LOL

  • nikki

    This is all true!! Be careful what u donate its not only him but the store managers as well n Jessica is the assisant manager.. You wouldnt believe what goes on there… I complained a while back as well but they do a great job trying to cover up for one another

  • John Davidson

    Anyone who thinks the employees at Good Will don’t take stuff out the back door please call me as I have some land for sale in the Florida swamps. This goes on in every store everywhere. Ask any merchant.

  • Steven

    I use Thrift Nation in Parma, in the same bldg. as Harbor Freight. Clean, HUGE store, low prices, great Christian staff. Worth the trip.

    • johns62

      Christians can have sticky fingers too. Some are Christians in label only.

  • seen with my own eyes

    The employees are stealing, I took a load of items from a recent Garage Sale and the employee’s were rummaging through all the items, as I was bringing in more, another yelled for the other saying come here and she started rummaging through. they have no supervision and there allowed to pick through the donations and take home what they want

  • Lisa Jones

    I am on a fixed income with a special needs child. i have called them because i was told they get vehicles donated to them and they then donate to lorain county families in need. so i gave them a call and they told me they do NOT donate any vehicles to anyone they do get donations of vehicles and when they do they take them to the scrap yard and junk them and they take the money from them and put that money to local charities . I explain to them that i was on a fixed income with a child in a wheel chair and couldnt afford to buy a van to get my child to and from metro hospital monthly and if they got a van could they please help me and they again told me We DO NOT HELP FAMILIES WITH VEHICLES the woman i talk to was very nasty to me and i swore that i would never donate anything to that place and this was just in the last few months i have called them so when did the policy change that they are giving cars away to people ..

    • afrmremployee

      Goodwill of Lorain County never gave away cars. Very few cars are donated to the lorain county division and when they are, they are typically given to corporate employees as company cars. There’s many different divisions of Goodwill within Ohio. I would suggest calling United Way ‘s first call for help, 211, for a list if agencies and/or non profit organizations that may help you find a car. The Goodwill division of Akron does have a vehicle lot, you can see it from route 77, but I believe it’s an auction style purchasing. Goodwill’s mission is to help people find and keep employment.

    • unclewicked

      Well I NEVER!

      Not only did they not give you a van, but they were “nasty” about it too!?

      I’m with you! Next time I need to get rid of some dirty socks and sticky 8-Track tapes, I’m calling the Salvation Army!

      • Lisa Jones

        the salvation army is no better i had a friend that worked there they got to have anything they wanted that came in off the truck or out of the boxes before they got taken to the sells racks when i donate things i donate to the red cross i know that my stuff i donate goes straight to family’s that are in need and that are getting it for free .

    • HankKwah

      You have to understand the liability they would have if they took vehicle donations, then turned around and sold them and something was wrong with them. It’s not as simple as reselling a book, pan or pair of shoes. If they got “nasty” with you, maybe your tone needed checked considering you didn’t understand when she told you they “DO NOT HELP FAMILIES WITH VEHICLES”. Twice. Did you think playing the “fixed income, special needs” card was going to change her mind?

      • WTFnext

        I am so glad you said this. I am also a member of a Yahoo group called Lorain County Freecycle. People have changed what was supposed to be a site to reduce what goes into landfills into a cry the blues about your life site. So many people get on their and beg for things and play the fixed income and special needs card. Especially at Christmas. One woman was begging for a game system for her daughter’s husband. WTF? Tell that lazy sack to get off of his rear, quit playing video games, get a job and buy your own video games.

        • HankKwah

          I used to be on there and saw the same thing. Bailed fast.

      • Lisa Jones

        my tone had nothing to do with it the woman just had a bad attitude and if anyone needed to be check was her and no i dont play the fixed income and special needs child to get stuff for free im just in need of some help right now. I worked all my life from the time i was 15 iam now 48 and i just happend to get hurt at work and can no longer work and i do have a 5 year old special needs son that is in a wheel chair and is also blind that i got when he was 9 months old when i got him i was a working mother not a lazy stay at home mother.. life just happen to change for me. so you need to ask questions before you assume anything……

        • HankKwah

          Horsepuckey. You already said you played the card AFTER she told you that they don’t deal cars like that. I understand your frustration, you just need to look elsewhere. But don’t tell me you didn’t do something after you already said you did it.

          so i gave them a call and they told me they do NOT donate any vehicles to anyone

          I explain to them that i was on a fixed income with a child in a wheel chair and couldnt afford to buy a van to get my child to and from metro hospital monthly and if they got a van could they please help me

          the woman i talk to was very nasty to me and i swore that i would never donate anything to that place

          (And THEN you lashed out and said you’d never donate anything.) Sounds like the issue was on your end, and that you got some bad advice from someone who thought they dealt in vehicles. Must’ve been another agency.

  • Ricardo Montezella

    I know Lawrence “Larry” He’s just mad cuz he got busted doing drugs on the job and the ambulance had to be called to revive him from an overdose in the bathroom at the Goodwill downtown office. They kept him on, only after he said he would give up info on a person stealing to Pam. Hell.. He was in the paper last week or so when his room mate stabbed him with his crack pipe in the ankle. Dude is dirty at times and since he is with a work program thru Nord he wont be going anywhere quick. As for his relationship with Jack.. He robbed the guy (jack) and got tossed out on the street, and is PO’ed at him for that. No wonder he is blaming people… Hearsay has it that dudes got warrants too from New Mexico.. Better trash on the one pointing a finger to save his own arse not the ones who protected his job.. Pam ran with the accusations of a guy she was gonna fire for doing drugs on the job and was on a mission to make a name for herself to bust anyone. The police investigated it and knew the story was a pile of dung after speaking with Lawrence and figured he was making it up to save his own job. They just fired a bunch of people who stole donated stuff from target that was going to Marc’s. Larry was part of this too, but was overlooked once again. As for Goodwill hiring felons and welfare people.. that’s a bunch of crap too!! Welfare sends people there for a program to learn how to get a job and they put in hours to get their cash assistance. Felons, Get a chance to make good working in the downtown location in one of the several programs available there to assimilate back into society.. as for the stores.. They hire walk ins from the street, ANYONE willing to work short term or long. The company taught me how to get along with others in a work place and I have moved on, and I am still friends with most of the people I met there. I no longer get my 10% discount but I still shop there tho lol. Oh… And Pam was fired for sending out an email with critical and personal info in it to a bunch of people in and out of the company. A major goof up in the office world!! I think they should have fired the junky and kept Pam tho.. Who would you rather employ? A junky or a Goof? just sayin!

  • afrmremployee

    As a former retail employee for Goodwill Industries of Lorain County, I can attest that the company is corrupted by greed from store clerks to the director of finances to the president. Employees have first dibs on donated goods because they process them for sale. There’s a reason why employees have designer bags and clothes and there’s junk on the sales floor. It’s Goodwill’s dirty little secret. Anyone that says that theft is not happening is covering it up because they don’t want their extra benefits of free goods from their 20 hour work week at minimum wage taken away. Store clerks, managers, truck drivers and the director of donated goods are all guilty of either taking donations or paying well below the company’s pricing guidelines. If Goodwill is interested in keeping a good reputation, corporate needs to install working survailence cameras in the processing rooms and sales floors.

    • SniperFire

      Sheesh. Glad I support the Salvation Army instead of these heathens.

    • WTFnext

      Amen. I know personally that they take stuff. And if you are a friend, you don’t pay what other people pay. Lately there is nothing but junk on the sales floor and they have outrageous prices on it. They have to make up the money from the good items that are taken by employees.

  • Summer Smart

    This isn’t something new. It has been going around from others who work at other locations that the items brought in are pilfered through for the “good” stuff and put on ebay. What happens to the money then? Is it in the pockets of the managers or what? People donate to places like this to pass on things we don’t need to help someone else out; not to line the pockets of the CEOs on the back of the lower income. Shame on you Goodwill. I have taken things directly down to where meals are being served and given things directly away many times.

  • WTFnext

    I say boycott giving them donations. Summer is here. Have a garage sale. Keep your own money.

  • Chris@ Spitzlawfirm

    My name is Christopher Wido, and I am one of the attorneys representing Ms. Dietz. If any has direct knowledge of thefts occurring at Goodwill in Lorain County, I would like to speak with you. Please call me at 216-291-4744

    • Sis Delish

      Hope you’re not charging billable hours for your work online…

    • golfingirl

      Are you offering a percent of your settlement?