HUD: Pittsburgh housing authority audits have found no problems

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Responding to a U.S. senator's concerns about the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh, a federal Department of Housing and Urban Development official authored a letter dated Friday indicating that audits of the agency had so far revealed no problems.

Independent audits of the authority from 2009 through 2012 didn't find any "weaknesses, significant deficiencies, or questioned costs related to procurement," wrote Dominique M. McCoy, HUD's general deputy assistant secretary for congressional and intergovernmental relations, in the letter to Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.

A HUD "onsite procurement and contracting review" in 2011 "did not identify any deficiencies in the areas examined," the HUD official continued. "We understand that the executive director has made it his priority to improve the HACP's operation, procedures and practices, including developing a plan to transition the modernization and development department over the next three years from an outside consulting firm to a new HACP workforce."

Mr. Grassley requested documents from HUD after the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported the authority's reliance on consultants, including Florida-based CVR Associates.

That firm billed the authority $1.25 million last year for coordinating its extensive modernization and development efforts.

"Sen. Grassley continues to be concerned that HUD appears to take housing authorities at their word that everything is sound without apparently adequately checking behind housing authority statements," wrote the senator's aide, Jill Gerber, in a statement to the Post-Gazette. "And beyond his correspondence with HUD, he has questions about the level of long-term outside contracts under way in Pittsburgh."

She said the senator hoped to take that issue up directly with HUD.

Rich Lord: or 412-263-1542. Twitter: @richelord.

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