Jan 17, 2011 11:27 PM by Shawn Kline

Auditors release report on Lafayette Housing Authority

Legislative auditors release their report on the Lafayette Housing Authority.
An audit released last year found thousands of dollars in misused money.
This report explains how all that money was used.
More than 20 pages describing the various ways the housing authority spent taxpayer dollars illegally with a common theme of accountability.
"The persons most responsible are the board." HUD liason and interim Executive Director Dan Rodriguez mentions, "the board members and the board as a whole."
City-Parish government removed three board members in August but they were reinstated by a district judge until December when City-Parish President Joey Durel removed them again. Their case is now waiting on a hearing.
"Until their hearing determines whether they will be reinstated or permanently suspended, HUD does not recognize them as board members," Rodriguez said.
He mentioned in a response to the auditor's report that the Lafayette Housing Authority is currently operating without a board following a tumultuous six months after the audit was released.
The auditor's report suggests holding the board and former Executive Director Walter Guillory accountable for a number of law violations. Including Guillory's use of housing authority credit cards to purchase clothing.
Guillory held an allowance of $5,000 per year for clothing expenses. Auditors not only questioned the "business necessity" of the allowance, they say, although Guillory would reimburse the housing authority, they suggest the use of credit cards is a form of tax evasion since items purchased with LHA credit cards were tax-exempt.
According to the report, Guillory wasn't the only person misusing credit cards; the housing authority racked-up thousands of dollars in excessive late-fees. Although the fees are now paid-off, the interest was paid in part by tax-payer dollars.

Another questionable discovery auditors pointed-out: a conflict of interest. The head of the Disaster Assistance Program (DHAP), Jonathan Carmouche also performed inspections of the program.
On top of that, auditors say his inspections were "poorly documented."
Another finding highlights a $50,000 state grant that partially paid for a hurricane building. Auditors say it's still unused and sitting in a storage building.
The Legislative Auditor recommends the housing authority reimburse more than $47,000 to the State Treasury Department.

To view the auditor's report in its entirety for yourself, follow this link:$FILE/0001BB6A.pdf



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