More documents must be made public in wake of Port Arthur Housing Authority audit that uncovered mismanagement: US Senator (correction appended)

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In the wake of a federal audit of the Port Arthur Housing Authority that uncovered numerous instances of fiscal mismanagement, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley has requested a number of documents from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development regarding that audit.

Grassley, (R-Iowa), the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, asked HUD for the contract for housing authority director, the names of any non-profit affiliates of the authority, all previous audits and financial statements of the authority, and the amount of federal stimulus funding given to the authority and an accounting of its use.

Grassley sent his request for information to HUD rather than the housing authority “because he wants and expects HUD to have these documents as part of the agency’s oversight responsibilities.  If HUD doesn’t have the materials, it should have them,” a Grassley spokeswoman said in an email.

The housing authority has been audited by HUD twice in the past two years. The first audit, done as part of a review of funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, suggested the government force the authority to return the entire grant of $725,546 to the U.S. Treasury.

The government recovered $657,906 of that money.

Grassley included in his request a salary disclosure form required of housing authorities that revealed executive director Seledonio Quesada eceives a compensation package of $237,156.

Grassley has begun to poke at officials hoping  to make all the information of the top paid officials at housing authorities in the U.S. available to the public.

He is also pushing the HUD investigation of the Harris County Housing Authority, where records revealed the executive director’s salary jumped from $99,507 in 2007 to $237, 120 in 2011, a 135 percent increase.

Editor's note: In a previous version of this story we mistakenly refer to the director receiving the salary as Ronnie Linden, who is the chairman of the board of directors of the Port Arthur Housing Authority. The $237,156 salary is paid to Seledonio Quesada, executive director of the housing authority. We regret the error.

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Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or stevemiller@texaswatchdog.org.

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