The day after Giving Tuesday, the leader of a Ventnor nonprofit was accused of taking.
Michael Einwechter, president of Amazing Ventnor, was arrested Wednesday for allegedly stealing funds raised at the Puerto Rico Relief Benefit Concert held at Ski Beach on Oct. 15.
Einwechter, 38, of Longport, organized the concert as president of the nonprofit Amazing Ventnor.
The proceeds of the benefit were to assist with hurricane relief for United for Puerto Rico, which aided in the shipping of supplies to the families in Puerto Rico.
Anita Pineda, who worked closely with Einwechter in organizing the event. said she was devastated and hopes the accusations aren’t true.
“I worked side by side with Mike during this entire event,” she said. “Countless texts, emails, calls, hours, so much hard work came into planning and organizing this even, as well as hosting and volunteering for it. Mike was with us, leading us the entire way.”
She said he knows him as “a humble, extremely kind man. He is a true beacon of hope to our (South Jersey) community.”
In a Facebook post, Einwechter indicated they raised close to $15,000 with time for people to contribute more, hoping to reach a goal of $20,000.
But that was not close to what the benefactors in Puerto Rico received, according to police. The exact amount of what was made has not yet been determined.
Einwechter posted an apparent apology at about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.
“Before I disappear on social media. I am facing these charges,” he said on a link to a story about his arrest. “I’m not going into details until I get to speak to an attorney.”
He made clear in the post he no longer is a co-owner in Ventnor Coffee, and asked that people not “take any negative action against Ventnor Coffee.”
He continued: “After the dust settles and all is clear, I will try to find it in my heart to do good for the community again. I am sincerely sorry it has come to this. I am sorry to anyone and everyone involved.”
Einwechter planned to meet with a lawyer Wednesday but had not yet retained one, he told BreakingAC.
“I posted all I’m going to say and feel at this point,” he said.
A monthlong investigation by Detective Sgts. Jason Rzemyk and Ted Bergman led to Einwechter being questioned and arrested.
A 4X4 truck was also seized.
That along with a Facebook post made by Einwechter just a day after the benefit could be the key to what happened to the money.
“So apparently no good deed goes unpunished,” he wrote in a Facebook post just before 1 a.m. the next day. “Our truck broke down.”
He later commented that the truck was in the shop.
Einwechter has since deleted both posts.
A fundraiser for Amazing Ventnor — started by Einwechter — remains on Facebook. It has $50 of its $1,000 goal with two weeks left.
Einwechter was released on a summons, per bail reform.