CHARLESTON - The West Virginia Troopers' Association has filed a suit against a national association of state troopers, claiming the group improperly collected donations under the WVTA name.

Attorney Marvin Masters filed a suit June 18 in Kanawha Circuit Court, against the American Association of State Troopers and R.D. Estepp, the director of the West Virginia branch of the AAST. The suit also names Xentel, Inc. as a defendant.

The WVTA receives donations to provide scholarships to troopers' children and families of fallen troopers, aid to injured troopers, education of troopers and education of the public to important safety issues.

According to the lawsuit, on March 9, 2007, people from AAST called WV citizens and told them they were collecting donations for the WVTA.

"The statement was false and made with the intent to mislead the potential contributor and cause harm," the suit says.

The call was made to numerous state resident.s

The lawsuit states the acts were a violation of West Virginia Code. AAST was never given the right to solicit money on behalf of the WVTA.

The AAST "obtained money from citizens in West Virginia that intended to give money to the WVTA," the suit says.

The WVTA claims the acts were intentional and that the group is entitled to punitive damages. They seek compensatory and punitive damages.

The case has been assigned to Judge Irene Berger.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 07-C-1215

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