Perrysburg Hts. Community
Center survives scandal, COVID-19
By La Prensa Staff
A Wood County man will spend the next several years behind bars,
convicted of using the Perrysburg Heights Community Center as
his own method to fund a lavish lifestyle.
recently was moved to a state prison after being sentenced in
late March. A jury convicted the former president of the
Perrysburg Heights Community Center on all counts, including
engaging in a pattern of corrupt activities, theft, and three
counts of money laundering. A forensic audit revealed Craig
stole more than $250,000 from the nonprofit organization.
Craig will serve a seven-year prison sentence for the corruption
charge and three years for money laundering. Those prison terms
will run concurrently. But he also faces five years of probation
after his prison sentence is served and must pay back the stolen
money to the community center. Craig filed an appeal to his
conviction and sentence, which a judge denied.
records from the Ohio Dept. of Rehabilitation and Correction
show Craig as housed at the state’s Correction Reception Center
where he was transferred April 3 from the Wood County Justice
Center. Transfers to state prisons have been slowed by the
coronavirus pandemic, so it’s unclear when Craig will receive an
assignment at a correctional center.
troubles began in the summer of 2013, when he served as a
community association board member and treasurer of the group.
The board of trustees had just voted to oust Anita
Sánchez-Serda, a fellow board member and one of the founders
of the community center. Her daughter Stephanie Serda had
been serving as executive director and was forced to resign
prompted a petition circulating door to door in Perrysburg
Heights, yielding dozens of signatures from neighborhood
residents, calling for Craig’s resignation. The petition alleged
that Craig was not representing the best interests of the
predominantly Latino neighborhood.
Craig later became board president in a revamped organizational
structure. The Perrysburg Heights Community Center
started suffering financial difficulties under Craig’s watch,
while the organization’s main fundraiser, Ohio South of the
Border Festival, had been running a deficit.
controversy came to a head in August 2014, when a festival with
high profile musical acts failed to occur. That’s when Craig was
accused of bilking the organization of a quarter of a million
dollars. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office began an
investigation through its Charitable Law Section after
Perrysburg Heights residents sent numerous letters seeking
County grand jury indicted Craig four years later, alleging he
engaged in a pattern of corrupt activity over a three-year
period, from 2012 to 2015. That was right in the middle of when
Perrysburg Heights residents, including Ms. Sánchez-Serda,
alleged the misdeeds.
corruption indictment listed nearly a dozen separate instances
of felonious actions, including depositing funds intended for
the community association into his own private bank accounts.
Other incidents accused Craig of withdrawing money from the
community center’s bank account for his own personal use.
Craig was removed as president of the Perrysburg Heights
Community Association in 2015, he moved to Cleveland. He was
arrested at his residence by the U.S. Marshal’s Service after
the sealed indictment was issued in 2018. During his court
proceedings, he asked for court-appointed defense counsel,
claiming he was destitute.
Perrysburg Heights Community Center survived the Craig
corruption scandal and botched hip-hop concert, continuing to
provide programs and services to the children and families of
that neighborhood over the past several years, including
homework help and a reading program.
many other nonprofits, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the center
to close and only offer limited programming. Over the past two
months, that has included a feeding program and food
distribution, in partnership with the Islamic Food Bank of
Toledo, Mom’s Mobile Mission and Perrysburg Schools.
EDITOR”S NOTE: La Prensa photo taken in 2013 when Craig
allegedly had Anita Sánchez-Serda ousted from the board and
Perrysburg Heights residents asking that Ms. Sánchez-Serda be