Fight brewing over late Marine's $1.3M donation

PAOLA, Kan. - When John DeVore died in August of 2011 at the age of 88, the World War II Marine left behind a huge donation to help veterans in Miami County, Kan. More than a year after DeVore's death, veterans have yet to see a penny.

"He left his money to benefit the veterans of Miami County and their families with no restrictions," said Pete Bell, commander of VFW Post 3712 in Paola.

Bell said DeVore's $1.3 million donation is being held inside the First Option Bank in Paola. He said the money will not help anyone anytime soon because the American Legion's national offices are holding it up.

Bell said DeVore left the money to three veterans groups: the American Legion, Disabled American Veteran and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

While Bell said the money is intended exclusively for Miami County veterans and their families, he said the American Legion wants the money to help veterans nationwide.

"There's really no excuse for the Legion not to be a part of what everyone else is on board with," Bell said.

The American Legion did not return 41 Action News' phone call for comment.

Now, Bell and the local committee that hopes to be in charge of the money are waiting on a court ruling to see if they can tweak the wording in DeVore's will.

"It's our role now to say, 'What was your real intent?'" Bell said. "And I'm sure his real intent was to get every dollar he could in the hands of people who need it."

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