The state of Texas is demanding that a South Dallas church repay $277,279 in money it received to feed poor children.
A lawsuit, filed last week in Austin, claims the Bread of Life Missionary Baptist Church and Pastor Thomas McNealy failed to show how it spent the money during three months in 2012.
The Texas Department of Agriculture said the funds came from the Summer Food Service Program, a federal program designed to make sure low-income children receive nutritious meals when school is not in session.
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The TDA launched an investigation after an anonymous complaint in August 2012, according to the lawsuit.
The department said it asked the church for records detailing the food expenditures and the church did not respond. The state then asked for the money back. The church lost an appeal but has still not paid, according to court documents.
“McNealy negligently allowed false information to be supplied to TDA that misguided TDA,” the lawsuit claimed.
The church and the pastor did not immediately respond to a telephone message seeking comment.