CHARLESTON – The state Department of Agriculture wants an eastern Panhandle county's economic development arm to repay money it misused in starting a farmer's market.

DoA filed a breach of contract suit against the Jefferson County Development Authority in Kanawha Circuit Court on April 7. In its complaint, DoA alleges JCDA was supposed to use $50,000 to help attract additional funds to start a farmer's market in the county, but didn't.

According to the suit, JCDA signed an agreement with the state Farmer's Market Matching Fund Grant Program on April 27, 2009, to start a farmer's market in Jefferson County. DoA, which administers the program, gave JCDA $50,000 with the understanding it would provide matching funds.

Though specifics are not provided, DoA states JCDA provided it with documentation "regarding sources for the matching grant funds." Nevertheless, DoA alleges JCDA never "collected or obtained" any matching grants.

On an unspecified date, DoA maintains it requested JCDA return the $50,000 which JCDA promptly refused.

Along with repayment of the $50,000, DoA seeks interest, attorney fees and court costs. It is represented by Arden J. Curry II with the Charleston law firm of Pauley Curry.

The case is assigned to Judge Charles K. King Jr.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 11-C-569

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