News BriefRegulations

Housing execs accused of funding boozy trips with taxpayer money

Tenant lead exposure and civil rights violations also happened under former directors' watch, complaint alleges

Future-Proof: Navigate Threats, Seize Opportunities at ICNY 2018 | Jan 22-26 at the Marriott Marquis, Times Square, New York

Officials contend that two former high-ranking public housing executives in southern Illinois bilked taxpayers out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by using public funds for boozy, all-expense paid trips to Las Vegas, gifts for coworkers and lavish meals. Former Alexander County Housing Authority (ACHA) Executive Directors James Wilson and Martha Franklin double-charged the local Housing Authority for hotel stays, personal meals and other splurges, according to a complaint filed on Nov. 24 with the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Office of Hearings and Appeals that seeks 125 civil penalties against the pair totaling $720,000 and another $188,000 in fees. Wilson was additionally accused of failing to report civil rights violations in 2014.  “Every dollar misspent on personal travel and other expenses is a dollar that could support the individuals and families we serve,” said Dane Narode, associate general counsel of HUD’s Office of Program Enforcement,...