We conducted a review of the Philadelphia Housing Authority’s compliance with Federal lobbying disclosure requirements and restrictions. We found that the Authority engaged in the prohibited practice of using Federal funds for lobbying and a former executive director certified to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that it did not do so. In addition, the former executive director falsely certified to HUD that the Authority did not use non-Federal funds for lobbying activities. We recommended that HUD’s Office of Program Enforcement pursue remedies under the Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act against the former executive director for falsely certifying to HUD that the Authority did not participate in lobbying activities.
In January 2014, HUD filed a complaint against the former executive director, seeking three civil penalties under the Byrd Amendment and three civil penalties under the Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act. As a basis for the civil penalties, HUD alleged that the former executive director made or caused to be made three materially false statements to HUD. These alleged false statements were disclosures and certifications submitted to HUD by the Authority.
In December 2014, an administrative law judge determined that the former executive director was liable for submitting three false certifications and disclosures, constituting a failure to file the required certifications and disclosures under the Byrd Amendment and violating the Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act by knowingly making three false statements to HUD. The court ordered the former executive director to pay HUD civil penalties of $75,000. The court determined that the former executive director was liable for a $10,000 civil penalty for the first Byrd Amendment count and two $25,000 civil penalties for the second and third counts under the Byrd Amendment. Additionally, the former executive director was liable for three $5,000 civil penalties under the Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act.