Suit targets control of ministry at center of FBI probe
    March 1 2009 by Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service

    Angel Food Ministries (AFM), a Georgia-based ministry under investigation by the FBI, is being sued by two board members who seek to remove control of the organization from its founders.

    The suit filed Feb. 25 charges that founders Joe and Linda Wingo used the ministry that provides food to the needy to enrich themselves, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

    The board members, Craig Atnip of Texas and David “Tony” Prather of Georgia, have asked a judge to ban the Wingos and their sons Andy and Wesley from the ministry’s property.

    “The two directors are not the inspiration of AFM, nor are they its heart and soul,” the ministry responded in a statement on Saturday. “They are acting in self-interest.”

    The ministry added that its work — distributing $30 boxes of groceries through tens of thousands of volunteers — “will not be well-served with these gentlemen at the helm.”

    It acknowledged that a grand jury investigation has begun “into alleged financial irregularities concerning certain individuals.”

    But the ministry said it believes the suit reflects two board directors “trying to take advantage of the investigation in the hope that in the rush to judgment they can have the windfall benefit of all of the years of labor by the Wingos.”

    In response to the ministry’s statement, Atnip and Prather issued their own statement, reported the York (Pa.) Daily Record. “We brought our lawsuit in an effort to ensure that AFM survives so it may be a part of the solution to our nation’s hunger problem,” they said.

    The Atlanta paper has also reported that the ministry is the subject of another suit. A former employee filed suit Feb. 27, charging that she was sexually harassed by Andy Wingo, a son of the ministry founders, and fired after shunning his advances.

    Asked for a comment about the suit filed by Tioni King, ministry spokesman Ronn Torossian said: “Andy Wingo is not an employee of AFM.”

    3/1/2009 5:40:00 AM by Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service | with 0 comments

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