Wilmington Housing Authority loses money - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

1.26.04

Wilmington Housing Authority loses money

The Wilmington Housing Authority has been told it's losing more than $100,000 in money from Washington. The government office that distributes the funds says the authority isn't managing its finances properly. In letters obtained exclusively by News 6, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, or H.U.D., tells the Wilmington Housing Authority it's ineligible for the federal funding. That determination comes after the federal government audited and evaluated the housing authority, which oversees more than 24-hundred low-income apartments in Wilmington. The lost money would have paid the salaries of two coordinators who help people transition from public housing to home-ownership.

The reason? A H.U.D. spokesperson tells News 6

"There are deficiencies in a few areas… one of which is the management of their (the housing authority's) finances…"

They would not be more specific. Housing Authority director Benjamin Quattlebaum says H.U.D. won't tell him either. He says he's appealing the ruling, and calls the audit findings "absolutely false."

We showed our research to a surprised Wilmington Mayor Spence Broadhurst. He says he's concerned, but the matter needs to be addressed by Quattlebaum and the Housing Authority's board of trustees.

We also looked into Quattlebaum's past and found evidence of money mismanagement at the Public Housing Authority in Camden, New Jersey which he ran in the mid 1990's. The audit results in a federal takeover of the authority. Quattlebaum won't speak on-camera, but says the problems in Camden weren't of his doing. He says he's the one who called for the audit, and that he resigned only after helping fix some of the mess. As for the grant money mentioned in these letters, some Wilmington city leaders say the $100,000 is a relatively small amount and so far, have been happy with Quattlebaum's performance as director.

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