Hickory Housing Authority in trouble with the Feds | News
HICKORY, NC (WBTV)- An audit of the Hickory Housing Authority has turned up irregularities regarding a grant the group received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in 2004.
The Resident Opportunity and Self Sufficiency (ROSS) grant was designed to help the Authority maintain and manage housing units in the city of Hickory.
According to the audit, the Authority failed to administer some of the HUD funds in accordance with the requirements. The audit accuses the Authority of mismanaging close to $522,000.
"We did make some mistakes," said Hickory Housing Authority Executive Director Alanda Jackson. "We are dilligently working to correct those mistakes."
The Audit accuses the Authority of awarding contracts to family members of Authority Board members and officials.
Jackson says that did happen but said on Monday that in every case the relative of the person getting the contract was not involved in the vote to approve the contract. Even so, HUD does not allow the procedure without first approving a waiver.
No waiver was sought at the time of the contracts. The contracts were for building maintenance and landscaping work.
The audit recommends that the Authority reimburse the money to the Greensboro Office of Public Housing in the amount of $522,135 using non-Federal funds. It also suggests the Authority develop better procedures for cash distribution and inventory control and provide receipts or other paperwork to justify the additional expense of $69,823 in ROSS grant funds that were used.
Jackson said the mistakes were misunderstandings and she and others in the Authority are working to resolve the problems. The contracts in question expired last year. "We won't be making the same mistakes again," she said.
HUD inspectors will visit the Hickory Housing Authority sometime this summer and a final ruling on what if any penalties or reimbursements are needed will be made after that visit.
"They could make up pay it all or something else could be arranged," said Jackson.
Copyright 2012 WBTV. All rights reserved.
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