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Charity Says Haitian Orphans Deserved Better

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (CN) - A religious nonprofit that cares for orphans in Haiti says a Tennessee man cheated it of thousands of dollars. The Hands and Feet Project claims Robert Faulkner dba Savage Supplies charged it $37,000 for a Caterpillar backhoe he would send to Haiti, but pocketed $11,000, never sent the machine to Haiti, and the dealer eventually sold it to someone else.

Hands and Feet Project is a children's village in Jacmel, Haiti that was founded by the band Audio Adrenaline in 2004. According to its Web site it "exists to care for orphans and abandoned children of the world with the love of Christ."

The charity claims that Faulkner, of Lebanon, Tenn., promised he could get it a 2002 Caterpillar backhoe and help ship it to Haiti. He did not tell them that he would keep $11,000 for himself, according to the complaint in Williamson County Court.

The Hands and Feet Project says it tried to get the machinery shipped but "contacts at Caterpillar never materialized."

The dealer eventually sold the backhoe to someone else because it had been left at the dealer's lot too long, the complaint states. Hands and Feet says it was never informed told that the backhoe was in danger of being sold.

"As of the date of this complaint [Jan. 5], HAFP has never been reimbursed its $37,000 which it paid for the purpose of this backhoe, nor has it received delivery of the purchased machinery from the defendant," the charity says.

It seeks damages for breach of contract, fraudulent misrepresentation and deceptive trade. It is represented by Larry Crain of the Brentwood Law Offices in Brentwood, Tenn.

Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, suffered a devastating earthquake this week that is believed to have left thousands dead.

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