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We audited the Weslaco Housing Authority, Weslaco, TX, because of issues noted in the Authority’s travel while reviewing its independent public accountant’s audited financial statements.  Our audit objective was to determine whether the Authority complied with Federal, State, and local requirements for its travel payments.

The Authority paid its commissioners and employees for ineligible, unreasonable, unnecessary, and unsupported travel costs.  This condition occurred because the Authority lacked controls and oversight, its staff was intimidated and did not question travelers’ costs, and travelers did not understand or disregarded the requirements.  As a result, the Authority paid a total of $23,138 in questioned travel costs.

We recommend that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Public Housing require the Authority to support or repay questioned costs totaling $23,138.  We also recommend the Authority adopt travel policies and procedures that comply with Federal, State, and local requirements.  In addition, we recommend that the Departmental Enforcement Center take appropriate administrative sanctions and seek civil money penalties against the commissioners.