In coordination with our Office of Investigations, we audited the Housing Authority of the City of Jasper, TX, because we received a complaint. The complainant’s allegations included the executive director’s misuse of Authority vehicles and other issues. Our audit objective was to determine whether the Authority operated its Public Housing programs in compliance with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) requirements.
The complaint had valid allegations. While the Authority properly administered its rental receipts and payroll for the months tested, it did not properly administer its public housing funds. The improper administration of funds occurred because the executive director did not understand or follow Federal and Authority requirements, and the board did not provide adequate oversight. As a result, the Authority paid $91,956 in questioned costs.
In addition, members of the Authority’s board of commissioners were not properly appointed in a timely manner. The untimely appointments occurred because the prior and current Mayor lacked knowledge about their responsibility to appoint commissioners. Thus, the board did not hold meetings as required and did not provide proper oversight of the Authority.
We recommend that the HUD Office of Public Housing require the Authority to support or repay questioned costs totaling $91,956. In addition, we recommend that the Departmental Enforcement Center take appropriate administrative sanctions and seek civil money penalties against the executive director. Further, we recommend that the Associate General Counsel for Program Enforcement determine legal sufficiency, and if legally sufficient, pursue remedies under the Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act against the executive director.