Government

Feds probing $1 million in spending by "troubled" housing authority

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Federal officials are probing the New Brunswick Housing Authority (NBHA) over $1 million it may have improperly spent, and are pushing the authority to turn over all documents related to those expenditures.

According to a federal report by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the authority failed to follow the proper procedures for purchasing goods and services, including a failure to find cheaper prices and limiting competition.

The authority also failed to meet its deadlines for approving funds and to ensure its financial reports and accounting data were accurate. The NBHA also charged thousands in excessive management fees, according to the report.

Sign Up for E-News

In response to the report, NBHA Executive Director John Clarke said that any of the authority’s problems stemmed from “substantial damage” suffered under Hurricane Sandy.

Clarke concluded that the authority would take all of HUD’s recommendations seriously and ensure its staff is properly trained.

The housing inspector general described the NBHA as a “troubled public housing agency” adding that the NBHA “did not fully understand HUD’s requirements” nor have adequate controls ensure compliance with those requirements.

According to the audit, the authority disbursed more than $800,000 worth of contracts to 10 agencies, according to the report, but limited competition by creating an excessive array of hoops for other contractors to jump through in order to enter the bidding process.

“The vendor used for the authority’s roof replacement and repair project was selected without full and open competition because it was limited to vendors that had licenses to work in at least 20 state,” reads the audit. “This was an unreasonable requirement to be placed on firms.”

Another $217,403 had been spent on legal, fee accounting, management consulting and auditing services, the report says.

HUD officials are urging that the authority turn over all documents showing those purchases were reasonable, otherwise the authority should pay back the $1 million with non-federal funds.

The authority also failed to ensure that its budget, financial reports and accounting data were current and up to date, according to the report

Federal officials are recommending that the authority also provide procurement training to its staff, reimburse $87,000 in excessive management fees, improve its controls and recordkeeping and reduce any of its future capital funds.

New Brunswick Mayor James Cahill, in a written statement, said that he trusts the actons of the Housing Authority will be found to have been appropriate. 

Cahll added that there may have been a "techncal violation," stemming from the 'timely expenditure of funds," in order to install an emergency generator at a project in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, and that other fees may have been incurred from the demolition and environmental remediation of the former Hoffman Pavilion Senior Housing facility.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Like

Sign Up for E-News

New Brunswick

The Jaffe Briefing - October 20, 2017

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

CAMDEN - Troubled. Crime-infested. Failing. Pick your own tried-and-true adjective to describe Camden. But even the haters have a tough time ignoring that plenty is being invested in our southern waterfront city. Just yesterday, a whole bunch of important people broke ground on the Joint Health Sciences Center, a 95,000-square-foot building promising to ...

New Brunswick Plows Ahead with Amazon Proposal

October 18, 2017

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Newark may have gotten the state’s stamp of approval for the Amazon HQ2, but local officials say the Hub City still has what it takes.

The New Brunswick Development Corporation (DEVCO) submitted its application directly to Amazon on Tuesday, October 17, said Chris Paladino, DEVCO’s president, adding that he was “very proud” of the ...

Rutgers student sexually assaulted in College Avenue dorm room

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - A female student affiliated with the university was reportedly sexually assaulted when a man randomly walked into her dorm room on October 13, according to police.

The assault happened at around 4:30 p.m. in Mettler Hall on College Avenue, Rutgers police said in a university-wide crime alert.

The victim was sitting in her room with the door open, when an unknown man ...

University eyeing former VP as potential commencement speaker

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Following the appearance of former Vice President Joe Biden at the Rutgers College Avenue Gym on October 12, the university is eyeing Biden as the potential 2018 commencement speaker.

The former vice president had dropped the rumor while taking selfies with students following his appearance, according to a post on the Rutgers subreddit.

Rutgers officials confirmed ...

South Brunswick Police Offering Reward For Gas Station Shooting Information

October 16, 2017

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – Police, in conjunction with Middlesex County, are offering a reward for information regarding Sunday morning’s shooting during a botched robbery at a Route 27 gas station that left the attendant in serious condition.

In a press release Monday afternoon, Chief of Police Raymond Hayducka said the department is offering a reward for information about the robbery ...

OPINION

A Call to Action on Healthcare

September 24, 2017

Dear TAPInto New Brunswick,

On July 29, 2016, one week after my 41st birthday, with no warning, I experienced a Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection. SCAD is an uncommon heart condition that causes arteries in the heart to tear, leading to a blockage of the artery, and, in my case, a heart attack.  I HAVE NO KNOWN RISK FACTORS FOR HEART DISEASE.  

I am a mother of two young ...

Celebrate Halloween with Spooky Storytelling and Crafts at Piscataway’s East Jersey Old Towne

October 21, 2017

PISCATAWAY, NJ – The Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission invites county residents to experience this year’s spooky Halloween themed programs.

These free programs will take place at The Village in East Jersey Olde Towne Village at 1050 River Road in Piscataway. Refreshments will be served and costumes are welcomed.

Friday, October 24 at 7 p.m. - Children’s ...

No Government Shutdown for Now, But Medicaid Remains at Risk

October 2, 2017

While federal lawmakers avoided a government shutdown this fall, the next budget battle is just months away. Because Congress approved only a short-term fix, leaders will need to once again negotiate a spending plan and the debt ceiling.

Despite the recent bipartisan deal, Medicaid remains a primary target for budget cuts.

People with disabilities, advocates, and concerned citizens deserve ...