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Food Bank focused on service after former director's arrest

Jan. 19, 2013 @ 11:12 PM

HUNTINGTON -- The interim director of the Huntington Area Food Bank said in a statement Saturday the agency remains focused on serving Tri-State families in need.

That message came a day after its former director, Leigh Ann Zappin, was arrested on a 17-count indictment charging her with embezzling more than $23,000 between Jan. 22 and Sept. 21, 2012. She cited medical reasons in tendering her resignation in late September, a move confirmed by the board Oct. 3.

"The Huntington Area Food Bank's Board of Directors and employees have cooperated fully in this investigation and will continue to assist prosecutors as the case moves through the court system," interim food bank director Tiffany Tatum said in the statement. "Throughout this unfortunate time, the Huntington Area Food Bank has and will continue to provide service to its member agencies and the nearly 100,000 people who need food each month in the Tri-State area. Although this is a difficult time for our organization, the needs of those we serve remain unchanged."

The food bank's board of directors meets at noon Wednesday, Jan. 23, in the Cabell County Commission chambers on the third floor of the Cabell County Courthouse in Huntington. The agenda includes a compliance audit with Feed America, the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity.

Stan Mills, the board's president, could not be reached for comment Saturday, but made strong statements two years ago in defending Zappin being named the director despite a prior embezzlement conviction. Her community service sentence is what led her to the food bank in 2008, then she was promoted to interim director in 2010. He also said at the time that the food bank had "systems in place that would not allow any type of monkey business."

Zappin remains in the Western Regional Jail on $100,000 bond.

Huntington defense attorney Chad Hatcher confirmed Friday he had filed a notice of appearance in the case, meaning he will represent Zappin. He could not be reached for comment Saturday.

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