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Charity Deal Defaults on Debt

June 27, 1999

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The son of Feed The Children founder Larry Jones defaulted on nearly $1 million in a business deal that the Oklahoma City-based charity had financed, according to a newspaper report.

The Sunday Oklahoman said that Jones’ son, Michael ``Allen″ Jones, ran the charity’s frame shop before and after the shop, known as Carousel Trading Ltd. and later as Tassels, Inc., was sold to a retired police officer.

Allen Jones eventually became part owner of the shop and personally guaranteed the debt, the Oklahoman reported. Within a year, he filed for personal bankruptcy and listed himself as owing his father’s charity $950,000 for a ``business loan.″

``It doesn’t look good, I’ll be the first to say that,″ Larry Jones told the Oklahoman.

Spokespeople for Feed The Children told The Associated Press that the charity did not sell the frame shop directly to Allen Jones, did not give any money to him and will not be harmed by the failure of his business.

``Feed The Children was protected,″ spokeswoman Emilee Truelove said. ``Feed The Children didn’t lose any money. Feed The Children is not harmed.″

The disclosure comes on the heels of reports that employees at Feed The Children’s office in Nashville, Tenn., apparently were caught taking food intended for the poor.

Larry Jones said he is frustrated by the negative publicity and that the reports have distracted him from his charity’s mission _ feeding children.

Larry Jones’ attorney, former Attorney General Larry Derryberry, said Feed The Children expects to recover the full amount of the debt after the business’ assets are sold, including inventory and equipment. The building in which the business operated has already been sold for $575,000.

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