SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) A controversial church that claims nearly $20 million in assets has received tax payer dollars in the form of federal grants.

A fire that ripped through an orphanage in Haiti has raised questions about its parent organization, the Church of Bible Understanding which is headquartered in Scranton. The church claims to spend around $600,000 annually on running two orphanages in the Caribbean country.

Yvonne Trimble, a missionary with Haiti for Christ Ministries has called that into question.

“No there is no way they’re pouring half a million dollars a year into the expenses of these homes,” she said about the Church of Bible Understanding’s orphanages. “There was a rat infestation, there was no proper bedding. The place was filthy.”

The I-Team has learned that the Church of Bible Understanding has been on the receiving end of taxpayer dollars. Federal documents show that in 2009 the church was on a list of 23 nonprofit organizations that received part of about $8.6 million from a program known as USAID. The money is supposed to be used for purchasing emergency food supplies and other commodities to those in need.

Eyewitness News continues to research those federal grants. It is unclear how much money the church received and whether or not they are still receiving public funds.

At this time, The Church of Bible Understanding has not been accused of any wrongdoing.