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Housing Board Requested Audit


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Housing Board Requested Audit

By Josh Egbert. CREATED Oct 24, 2013

Omaha, NE- A monthly board meeting for the Housing Authority of Omaha had a little more on the agenda than usual. The context of a leaked audit summary from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development became a hot topic.

Turns out, the board requested this audit because they knew of bad past practices. Among them is the misuse of millions of taxpayer dollars.

The findings of inappropriate and impermissible use of federal funds came as no surprise to the Omaha Housing Authority.

"Many of the actors, who were addressed in the report, are no longer with the agency." says CEO Clifford Scott.

Thursday morning the OHA board discussed the HUD report.

"We had to force this audit, this audit, we went to HUD originally, we went to the local HUD office and asked for this audit, so this is not something that HUD did and we're reacting to, we asked for this." says board member Ben Gray.

The audit found OHA misused more then $2.5 million dollars in federal money. Instead of using if for specific types of housing programs, the authority used it to make other payments, including settling a lawsuit. The audit also found poor financial records kept board members in the dark.

"We already knew in here that there were irregularities, this says nothing about where the money went, we already knew that there were issues here, we want to know where the money went." says Gray.

The audit reviewed records from 2001-2012. CEO Clifford Scott said many of the problems found have already been fixed.

"It's in the best interest of this organization to move forward." explains Scott.

City Councilman Ben Gray, who has served on the board since 2012, said the current board is all new and working to get back on track.

"This board, this board has done its job. This executive director has done his job. This staff has done its job." says Gray.

Next month the Omaha Housing Authority will sign a recovery agreement with HUD. Over the next three months the OHA will begin to pay back what is owed