WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 26, 2014 – (RealEstateRama) — Representative John L. Mica (FL-7)disclosed to the public at a press conference in Sanford, Florida, the decision of the Department of Justice not to pursue a criminal referral on the misappropriation, fraud and abuse of taxpayer funds and resources by the former Executive Director of the Sanford Housing Authority. Mica said, “This is an outrage to public trust. Iam disappointed that Attorney General Holder would not pursue criminal charges or bring to justice those responsible for ripping off taxpayers while in a position of public trust.”
At a recent oversight hearing Congressman Mica chaired, HUD Inspector General Montoya described abuses not only at Sanford but at other major housing authorities across the country. The investigative panel was convened to review significant dysfunction in the management of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) public housing and low-income rental assistance programs.
HUD Inspector General Montoya revealed that since the start of Fiscal Year 2012, the Office of the Inspector General has issued 75 audits related to Public Housing Authorities reporting about $225 million in questioned costs and about $24 million in funds “to be put to better use”. The HUD OIG released a March 2011 report that found that the Philadelphia Housing Authority had paid $30.5 million to 15 outside law firms from 2007 through 2010 and could not fully explain where the money went. The HUD Inspector General testified that the Philadelphia PHA spent $1.1 million on outside attorneys “to obstruct the progress” of HUD OIG audits.
Mica concluded, “Taxpayer money is being spent with little to no oversight, and PHA executives are unethically dispensing funds on initiatives unrelated to public housing. I will continue to look at every option to make sure that those who violate the public trust are held accountable.”