2x4′s for Hope severs ties with founders, files restraining order

Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 3:52 PM CST
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QUINCY (WGEM) - A group dedicated to building tiny homes for homeless veterans has severed ties with its founders amid an Illinois State Police investigation.

In a release issued late Monday morning, the group stated, “Mark and Chris Lawrence, founders of the Quincy-based 501(c)3 2x4′s For Hope, have been relieved of their duties to address personal issues.”

The release said Kevin Murphy, who previously was the vice president of the group’s board of directors, had been named interim president.

Late Friday, the group filed a restraining order in Adams County Court seeking to sever any relationship between the group and the Lawrences. Monday afternoon, Adams County State’s Attorney Gary Farha confirmed his office had been contacted by Illinois State Police regarding a criminal investigation involving the reported sale of Milwaukee power tools that had been donated to the group.

“The allegations are that those tools ended up in a retailers inventory and a large amount of money was paid by that retailer for those tools,” Farha said.

The developments already have had an effect on the group’s finances, as Murphy said Quincy Medical Group has stopped payment on a $65,000-plus donation announced on Veterans Day to help build one of two new tiny homes at Second and Spruce.

QMG addressed the situation in a statement released Monday afternoon.

“Our commitment to improving lives for deserving veterans has not changed, however, in light of this information, Quincy Medical Group’s donation has been put on hold,” the statement read.

Murphy said the group is fully cooperating with ISP in their investigation, and he added that the organization is looking to continue operating under its mission of helping veterans.

“We do not intend to pack up and ship out,” Murphy said.

The statement released Monday encouraged concerned donors and volunteers to call 217-779-8779.

Reached by phone Monday night, Mark Lawrence said the matter is a “petty internal board dispute for control of the organization.” He said he is confident it will be resolved quickly.

A hearing on the restraining order is set for Nov. 22.

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