(Source: Dallasnews.com) An obscure city housing agency has been awarding thousands of dollars of contracts — and in one case a bonus — to members of its board, a Dallas Morning News investigation has found.
The Dallas City Council may take steps to rein in such inside deals at its meeting Wednesday.
The agency — the Dallas Housing Finance Corporation — is one of the city’s tools to address the lack of affordable housing for people with limited incomes. Over the years, the agency has issued over $180 million in bonds that have financed more than a dozen apartment complexes around the city, and it has an ownership stake in several of those properties.
In 2014, the board voted to give a $14,000 contract to a nonprofit controlled by one of its members, Sherman Roberts, a developer in southern Dallas. When the contract to do maintenance and other work at senior-citizen apartments near Fair Park ended late that year, Roberts’ nonprofit received a $25,000 “exiting bonus.”
Roberts, through a spokeswoman, said the directors of his nonprofit told him not to respond to questions from The News.
Two years later, the agency entered another contract — this time to make sure apartment complexes were providing required services like after-school tutoring and swimming classes for their residents. Again, the job — worth up to $30,000 — went to a board member, this time Jim Harp, a real estate agent.
Harp said that in accepting the contract, he simply did as he was asked...