State Auditor Crit Luallen has released a report that claims gross mismanagement at the Louisville Metro Department of Housing and Family Services led to questionable spending of millions of dollars in local and federal funds. Luallen used strong words to describe the ineptitude of Metro officials.
“It is unacceptable for any government agency to have such a severe level of mismanagement and poor oversight,” Luallen said in a release. “It’s clear by the types of serious issues and multiple concerns we found in the housing department that the city must take every step necessary to correct them.”
CLICK ABOVE for the full report
Much of the blame is directed toward former director Kimberly Bunton, a Jerry Abramson appointee, who resigned in August after the Courier-Journal discovered that she directed nearly $2,000 in agency funds to her mother.
But according to the state audit, that was the tip of the iceberg of problems in the city department, which was responsible for distributing $18 million in federal funds. Bunton’s incompetence and mismanagement resulted in findings of $459,000 in questioned costs; a loss of $363,054 due to mismanagement and $359,630 in federal funds distributed without proper oversight, according to the audit, which reviewed financing from July 2007 through June 2008.While Bunton was clearly in over her head, the scope of the findings indicate problems in the department are widespread. After Bunton resigned, Abramson brought Tina Heavrin in as interim director.
Problems in the department first made public notice last June when the Courier-Journal reported that $19.5 million in federal housing grants had been awarded to the city but never spent over a 13-year period . Then there was news about a loan on property owned by deputy mayor William Summers IV. He had missed four payments on a loan due to an oversight.
Just last week, WHAS-TV reported that the department had hired Summers’ son for a $64,000 job without posting the position or interviewing other candidates.
The lengthy audit questions everything from staff training to payroll administration to ethics in its report, finding questionable decisions large and small.
For example, it found that a grant intended for reducing poverty and revitalizing low-income communities was used to pay Bunton’s cell phone bill. Money intended for one purpose was frequently used for other purposes.
In its responses, Metro Government takes the position that it does take the charges seriously and is making changes to improve the functioning of the department, but Luallen’s report shows that it’s got a long way to go.
For those of you unable to access PDF files at work, there’s a quick summary of the audit results after the jump…