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A college ethics professor accused of stealing thousands of dollars from a fundraiser she organized in honor of Philando Castile will pay back $120,000. 

That's according to a settlement agreement reached between Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and the professor, Pamela Fergus.

Fergus raised about $200,000 with her 2017 fundraiser, the "Philando Feeds The Children" project, which she said would go to paying off school lunch debt at St. Paul Public Schools. 

However, she is alleged to have only donated $80,000 to the district, with $120,738 going into Fergus' pockets, a lawsuit Ellison's office filed in June 2021 said. The suit said Fergus never registered her charity with the state and did not keep records. 

The settlement agreement announced Monday requires Fergus to pay $120,000 to the Minnesota Attorney General's Office, which will distribute the money to St. Paul Public Schools to pay off lunch debts of students in need. The agreement also permanently bans Fergus from handling charitable funds.

“This settlement helps to ensure that the money donors gave in Philando’s name will go back to where it was intended — to help St. Paul kids who struggle to pay for school lunches,” Attorney General Ellison said in a statement. “Philando Castile cared deeply about the children he served, and the children loved him back. Failing to use every dollar raised to help those children was an insult to Philando’s legacy and all who loved him. 

"This settlement helps right that wrong by continuing Philando’s commitment to serving students in need and ensures that the powerful impact he had during his life will continue to live as his legacy to the children and all of us.”

The Philando Feeds The Children project began as a one-semester, in-class service project for an undergraduate diversity and ethics class Fergus taught in 2017. It had a goal of raising $5,000 but donations flooded in, quickly reaching the $200,000 mark. 

Fergus, who was a faculty member at Metro State University and Inver Hills Community College at the time, denied the allegations alleged in Ellison's lawsuit but did agree to the settlement. Fergus' last day with Metro State University was May 7, 2021, reports said, while she is still listed as a faculty member on the Inver Hills Community College website.

Castile, who was fatally shot during a traffic stop on July 6, 2016, was a nutrition services supervisor at J.J. Hill Montessori at the time of his death. He was beloved by students and colleagues for his generosity, and was known to sometimes pay for students' lunches out of his own pocket when their families struggled to afford the cost.

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