West Palm Beach Bishop Harold Ray calls misspending claims 'garbage'

Denies any wrongdoing

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A bishop in West Palm Beach is speaking out over accusations he and his nonprofit misspent tens of thousands of dollars of taxpayer funds.  It was money earmarked for low income housing.

Bishop Harold Ray held a news conference at Redemptive Life Fellowship Church Wednesday afternoon calling the claims "nonsense" and "garbage."

City and federal officials are trying to figure out if tax dollars were misspent.

In 2003, the city gave Redemptive Life more than one million dollars in federal funds to build homes in Coleman Park.

More than two dozen homes were built,  but the big question is whether all of the money was spent properly.

City officials claim some of the money could have been put into private accounts and that the church could have kept some of the profits.

"That's public money, it's tax dollars, it's their responsibility to make sure it's spent properly and that's basically what we're looking for and the feds are looking for," said Elliot Cohen, a spokesperson for the city of West Palm Beach.

Bishop Ray denied any wrongdoing.  He said he was only doing what the city ordered and that the lack of oversight was on the city's part.

"It's insult to injury," said Bishop Ray.  "Frankly we're tired of it, it's time for the city to stand up and own up to their own issues," he said.

The attorney for Bishop Ray also provided the Contact 5 Investigators with an email from an agent with the Inspector General's office for HUD.  It states that after 120 days of looking at documents, they have decided not to launch an official investigation and closed the case.

A spokesperson for HUD would not comment.  However, city officials said HUD administrators are still looking at the case, and were at City Hall inquiring about the case just last week.

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