HUD probe clears Pittsburgh housing authority

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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 had so far revealed no problems.

Independent audits of the authority from 2009 through 2012, and a HUD on-site review in 2011, 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.

“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,” the official wrote.

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 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.

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