MANKATO — Anyone familiar with the enthusiasm Tim Stromer brings to his work knows that it takes a lot to bring the man down.
But a recent article in The Free Press did just that. The article outlined the turmoil that has caused the closure of Kids Against Hunger in Mankato and prompted leadership changes at its corporate headquarters. The article also included comments from former Kids Against Hunger CEO Ron Osterbauer, who accused Stromer of financial impropriety.
Stromer, who for years was the face of Kids Against Hunger in Mankato, denied the claims when interviewed for the original article, published May 24. And in the ensuing weeks, he says the fallout has been significant and has damaged his reputation.
“It has a tendency to destroy all that we did,” Stromer said, still denying any impropriety.
He urged The Free Press to contact Mike Lloyd, who used to serve as the executive director of the Kids Against Hunger headquarters in New Hope. Lloyd said he indeed worked for Kids Against Hunger and was there when turmoil arose between the organization’s board of directors and founder and President Richard Proudfit.
Proudfit created Kids Against Hunger. As the story goes, Proudfit claims to have been spoken to by God whom he claims said to him, “Feed my Starving Children.”
But as Lloyd tells it, Proudfit was a visionary and entrepreneur who at times did things his own way. One of those times, he said, led to Proudfit creating a bank account for the Mankato Kids Against Hunger operation without the consent of the board of directors or Lloyd.
Proudfit reportedly siphoned off about $140,000 in donations over a six-month period and funneled them to that Mankato bank account. Those funds were going to be used to fund the purchase of a new building, Lloyd said.