Monday, March 30, 2009

Angel Food Settlement Falls Apart

We have previously informed readers of a settlement agreement reached between the disputing board members of Angel Food Ministries. Today's Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the parties have scuttled the agreement because of a dispute over money. 

Two sides battling for control of Georgia’s $140-million Angel Food Ministries are blaming each other for the collapse of an agreement that would have ended the controversy at the troubled nonprofit.  Once more, money is at the heart of the issue.  The two break-away board members at odds with the nonprofit, Craig Atnip of Texas and David “Tony” Prather of Monroe, alleged in a lawsuit March 5 that Joe Wingo and his family, enriched themselves at Angel Food’s expense.  The two men agreed to drop their suit after a court-supervised verbal agreement was negotiated. They agreed to leave the nonprofit, and financial controls were put in place on the Wingo family, founders of Angel Food Ministries. The judge asked the two parties to put their agreement in writing.  Juda Engelmayer, spokesman for Angel Food, said there was no discussion in court about severance payments for Atnip and Prather, or payment of their legal fees. Those issues came up in subsequent meetings between attorneys. “They were asking for things that were not in the agreement,” Englemayer said.

Seems to me both sides are suffering from a bad case of "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" - itis.  The longer this suit goes on the more harm to needy beneficiaries.  I happen to attend a Church, as a matter of fact, that is affiliated with Angel Food Ministries.  By that I mean that our Church takes food orders that are filled by Angel Food Ministries and then distributed to people in the community.  Yesterday, for example, we were given a handout with the April menu -- essentially bags of groceries that members of the congregation can purchase for delivery to needy people within our community.  The prices are well below normal grocery store prices and all the food products are name brand.  I was tempted to order some groceries for myself, but God was watching, I felt his eyeballs on the back of my head.  Anyway, there can be little doubt that, except for the allegations of personal enrichment, this is an operation that functions the way a 501(c)(3) ought to.  They need to put aside ego and greed, resolve their differences now, and drive on with the mission.


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