HUD Forced to Seize Local Housing Office
Financial abuses, mismanagement to blame
HUD announced this week that it had to step in and take control of the Housing Authority of the City of Lafayette, Louisiana (HACL), effective immediately, because of money mismanagement and what it deemed a “leadership vacuum” following the departure of the agencys executive director last October.
The agency violated federal law and defaulted on its Public Housing Annual Contributions Contract (ACC) “ the agreement that local housing authorities enter into with the federal government to administer HUDs public housing programs, according to HUD officials.
HUD requires that all housing agencies conduct an annual audit their financial operations by an independent public auditor. Between 2007 and 2009, HACLs independent auditing firm cited numerous negative findings of HACLs operations. Despite HACL awareness of these serious findings, it failed to address them. Auditors determined that HACL has “weak accounting controls”, and that this shortcoming could result in fraud, waste or abuse of HUD funds.
The HACL is also accused of misusing HUD and state funds–about $91,000 worth. In addition, the auditor found that HACL violated a state cooperative endeavor agreement by improperly using state grant funds intended to develop buildings to withstand hurricane force winds. HACL improperly used these funds to pay for the development of the same project that HACL improperly used HUD funds to subsidize.
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