WPB ordered to pay back thousands - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

WPB ordered to pay back thousands

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX)  City officials in West Palm Beach have 24 hours to pay back hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money to Washington. 

It is related to Redemptive Life Fellowship Church and the alleged misuse of tax dollars for a low income housing project.

The federal government is  investigating the nonprofit.  But as the investigation continues, the federal government wants officials to pay back $654,000 for failing to properly administer federal funds.

Bishop Harold Ray has denied any wrongdoing since the news first broke last month. But the FOX Investigators discovered city leaders had been looking into accounting problems with his nonprofit for an entire year.

Exclusive emails obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show officials at City Hall noticed invoice "discrepancies" with Redemptive Life's Coleman Park Project,  as early as January 28 th, 2011.

In April, emails show city officials discovered no one had monitored the nonprofit or its funding over the past few years, which launched an official review.

And in early December, the Mayor requested a public presentation on the project after receiving "concerns from the community. "

In all, city leaders said Bishop Harold Ray and his nonprofit could be on the hook for up to four million dollars in federal funds.

The FOX Investigators also discovered that while Bishop Ray and his organization was spending taxpayer funds, court documents show his wife allegedly spent more than $40,000 in credit card charges.

Citibank has filed suit to get the money back.  The charges include more than $1,000 at a Chanel store, another $1,000 at Louis Vuitton,  and thousands of dollars on hotel rooms and cruises.

Plus, court documents also show the couple's homeowners association has also filed suit against them, claiming they failed to pay more than $1,700 in fees.

WFLX 5 made numerous calls to Bishop Ray's attorney today; so far he has not returned any calls. 

The bishop said in the past that he's working on gathering his records to tell his side of the story.

City officials also haven't returned any calls today to tell  if they're paying the money and where the funds will come from.

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