FBI has taken over Dothan feeding scandal investigation

Millions were poured into program during COVID with those dollars going to a small restaurant that agreed to provide meals to children from low-income families.
An ongoing investigation into food program scandal prompts FBI involvement
Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 7:11 AM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - The FBI has taken control of a criminal investigation into the city of Dothan’s after school feeding program, according to four sources with knowledge of the matter.

The probe into possible corruption is widening amid increased scrutiny of a contract that turned out to be worth millions.

An internal city investigation has already led to the firing of Dothan’s feeding program administrator.

Stephanie Wingfield, a 23-year city employee, was terminated a few weeks ago after allegations surfaced that she rigged feeding program bids.

A restaurant owner claims Wingfield illegally revealed her bid so another eatery could undercut her price.

City of Dothan employee fired amid feeding scandal, arrests possible

The pact was initially worth $263,000 annually to Breakfast at Tammie’s, a quaint downtown restaurant.

But a huge influx of federal dollars during the coronavirus pandemic made the contract more valuable.

Over roughly three years, the city of Dothan paid Tammie’s $2.7 million for meals and snacks, according to a financial document obtained by WTVY News 4.

Wingfield prepared paperwork for the city to recoup its cost from the federal government.

Department of Leisure Services Director Alison Hall said an audit discovered irregularities in those documents.

Leisure Services administers the program that provides meals and snacks for children from low-income families.

City won’t say how many have left jobs amid feeding scandal

Neither Ms. Wingfield nor restaurant owner Tammie Potter have been charged.

Wingfield’s attorney previously said Wingfield is a scapegoat.

Ms. Potter has not responded to a message seeking comment.

Dothan city commissioners extended the feeding program this week conditioned on public school lunchrooms preparing meals.

The FBI declined to discuss their role in the investigation.

“We wouldn’t be able to confirm nor deny the existence of a federal investigation,” FBI Media Coordinator Tommy Loftis told News 4 on Wednesday.

Copyright 2022 WTVY. All rights reserved.

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