Oklahoma’s attorney general has opened a formal investigation of Feed The Children because of allegations of misuse of funds, an assistant attorney general disclosed Friday.
The investigation will involve scrutiny of the charity board of directors and its former president, Larry Jones, who was fired in November. "This could end up a criminal matter,” Assistant Attorney General Julie Bays told Oklahoma County District Judge Patricia Parrish. The disclosure came at a hearing in the first lawsuit Jones filed against Oklahoma City-based Feed The Children, one of the nation’s biggest charities. Attorney General Drew Edmondson on March 23 asked to intervene in the lawsuit to protect the public’s interest. The judge on Wednesday agreed. Criminal charges are only one possible outcome from the investigation. The attorney general also could take no action, ask the charity to make changes or ask a judge to appoint a receiver. No time was given on how long the investigation could take. In his first lawsuit, Jones asked the judge to appoint a temporary receiver to operate the charity. The involvement of the attorney general means the judge no longer will consider appointing a receiver unless Edmondson makes the request. The charity has accused Jones of taking bribes, hiding porn magazines at the charity and "bugging” executives’ offices.