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We audited the Jefferson Parish Housing Authority as part of our annual audit plan to review public housing programs. Our objective was to determine whether the Authority operated in accordance with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) and other requirements. Specifically, we wanted to determine whether the Authority (1) complied with procurement requirements and (2) ensured that its expenditures were eligible and supported.

We found that the Authority did not always comply with Federal procurement regulations or ensure that its expenditures were eligible and supported. Specifically, it (1) did not always follow Federal procurement and other requirements for its accounting, legal, and auditing services; (2) could not support disbursements made for security services, a grant coordinator, and credit card purchases and paid for ineligible credit card purchases; (3) made ineligible payments to its commissioners; and (4) created a conflict of interest when it made payments to a State legislator’s company. These conditions occurred because the Authority did not understand or follow Federal regulations or its procurement policy, did not have adequate procurement or accounting policies and procedures or proper internal controls, and disregarded HUD guidance. As a result, it (1) incurred $202,114 in ineligible and $453,793 in unsupported costs and (2) could not provide reasonable assurance that HUD funds were used effectively and efficiently or to fully benefit program participants and were protected from fraud, waste, and abuse.

We recommend that the HUD’s Director of Public Housing require the Authority to (1) repay $202,114 in ineligible costs; (2) support or repay $453,793; (3) develop and implement proper internal controls; (4) immediately stop using funds for prohibited costs; and (5) provide training to Authority employees. We also recommend that the Director of the Departmental Enforcement Center, in coordination with the Director of the Office of Public Housing, take appropriate administrative sanctions against the Authority’s executive director and board members for violating HUD requirements.