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Housing Authority Squandered $2 Million, ‘Falsified’ Documents

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Richmond, Calif., housing authority officials “misspent” $2.2 million in federal funds, including nearly $1 million with no paper trail, and “falsified” documents submitted to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), according to the HUD Office of Inspector General (IG).

Among other things, the Richmond officials used the federal tax dollars to pay the city’s executive director while racking up $944,010 in unaccounted costs, the IG said.

The housing authority also allowed the city to use federal HUD funds for non-housing operations and allowed free use of a HUD-funded housing authority building that should have been rented. The documents it then submitted to HUD “misrepresented material facts” in an effort to coverup its actions.

“These deficiencies added to the already strained financial condition of the authority and limited its resources and effectiveness with its public housing program,” the IG said.

The local housing authority has for years disregarded HUD’s requirements, lacked independence from the city, and allowed a weak internal control environment to fester.

But the Richmond Housing Authority disagreed with most of the IG’s recommendations, insisting it spent funds correctly. (RELATED: Here’s Why Gov’t Housing Vouchers End Up Causing More Poverty)

The audit failed to mention the housing authority’s other troubled history.

The city in 2014 voted to shut down the housing authority’s Hacienda public housing project, after discovering the presence of rats, a foundation separating from the walls, and squatters camping out on the grounds. But a year later, the housing authority had done nothing to relocate residents, most of whom were elderly or disabled, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

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