Truck stop owner sues over ban from food-aid program

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

WEST POINT – The owner of the Handy Mart Truck Stop wants a judge to decide if his business should be barred from the federal food assistance program.
Adhm Abdel-Jalil of West Point insists his business has done nothing wrong and that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is wrong to permanently disqualify the business from participation in the EBT/SNAP program, once referred to as food stamps.
Wednesday, his Clay County lawsuit was moved to the U.S. District Court of Northern Mississippi by the USDA and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oxford.
Senior Judge Glen H. Davidson is assigned to review the case.
The lawsuit claims the USDA’s field office in Montgomery, Ala., in July 2011 informed Abdel-Jalil that the truck stop was in violation of SNAP rules by “patterns” of transactions at the store.
He says he provided “voluminous records” and documents to disprove the allegations.
On Jan. 19, 2012, the USDA said his evidence was insufficient and upheld the original decision to bar his store from the program. He appealed within the proscribed 30-day period.
The lawsuit, he says, seeks an “unbiased, objective review” of the facts.
He also insists that the disqualification from EBT/SNAP will have a serious, negative impact on his business, as well as “to the impoverished community,” which it serves.
patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com