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Florida Department of State Says OnePULSE Owes $394,000

The Florida Department of State has issued a letter to the onePULSE Foundation, stating that the organization owes the state $394,000.

The Department of State told the foundation it must repay funds given to onePULSE for the museum project.

It’s part of the grant agreement with the state that if the museum project did not move forward, onePULSE would repay 100% of all money it received.

The onePULSE organization announced the foundation would be dissolved last month.

Since it was formed in late 2016 by Pulse Nightclub owner Barbara Poma, the primary mission of the onePULSE Foundation has been to build a memorial and museum to honor the victims of the Pulse Nightclub attack.

Forty-nine people were killed and dozens more injured when a gunman stormed the club on June 12, 2016.

Central to that mission was the foundation’s acquisition of the nightclub property from Poma to build a memorial. Since Poma and the foundation parted ways earlier this year and the foundation’s failure to acquire the nightclub property, many have questioned the foundation’s purpose and called for its end.

Years ago, the state of Florida agreed to give onePULSE $500,000, a grant to honor the 49 victims of the Pulse massacre by building a museum.

Not only did onePULSE fail to build it, but soon, onePULSE won’t even exist.

“And the concern we have is that a memorial was never established,” Rep. Anna Eskamani said.

So the state of Florida is calling in the chips and wants the money back, or at least some of it, saying it’s owed “100% of the grant funds paid, which is at the time of the notice $394,321.”

It’s just over $394,000.

Eskamani says it’s only right.

“And so these are dollars that are the public’s, taxpayers’ money allocated for a specific purpose, and we have to make sure it goes to that purpose,” Eskamani said.

The onePULSE Foundation was created with the purpose to build the memorial and museum, but the foundation struggled to raise the money and last month announced it’s dissolving.

“From where you’re sitting, how frustrating is this,” WESH 2’s Michelle Meredith asked.

“It is very frustrating. It’s also very heartbreaking. This is retraumatizing many of our Pulse survivors and families of lost loved ones. We need to get this right,” Eskamani said.

So will and can onePULSE pay the state back?

In a statement, onePULSE appears to be weighing its options, saying in part they’ve hired legal counsel to review steps needed to carry out the board’s decision and comply with applicable Florida state statutes.

“Last week, the foundation hired legal counsel who is reviewing the appropriate steps needed to carry out the board’s decision and comply with applicable Florida statutes,” onePULSE Foundation said in a statement.

In the meantime, at the Pulse site, the onePULSE name and website have been blacked out.

Source: Wesh