Allen West's Request Met: Investigation Into Deerfield Beach Housing Authority Pending
Rep. Allen West's July request has been answered: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of the Inspector General is coming to town to look into the Deerfield Beach Housing Authority.
A letter from Deputy Inspector General Michael P. Stephens to West dated August 3 confirms a case has been opened, and auditors from the Inspector General's Office have been asked to review the allegations.
According to an email from DBHA Executive Director Pamela Davis sent to the agency's board of commissioners, they're coming to town this week:
Sent: Friday, September 23, 2011 2:14 PM
Subject: Office of Inspector General
As you all are aware, Congressmen Allen West asked for a Full investigation of the Deerfield Beach Housing Authority. The OIG will be here on Wednesday, September 28, 2011.
I will keep you informed.
Pamela E. Davis
As you may recall, West's involvement in the matter came about due to emails from activist Chaz Stevens, who's been looking into the housing authority with great animosity for quite some time.
Below is an email to Davis from newly appointed housing authority Commissioner Michael Weiss, which outlines the problems within the agency as well as what he expects the Inspector General's Office to find in its audit:
Date: September 25, 2011 6:30:50 PM
Subject: Request of Public Interest
Executive Director Davis;
For nearly the last two years, the City of Deerfield Beach, along with its contracted Forensic Auditor Kessler International, DBHA Commissioners, and members of the general public have been unable to get answers to numerous inquiries posed to your staff. Additionally, you have ignored answering my simple questions about basic agency policy.
As Commissioner, it is my responsibility to ensure agency management does not willfully or negligently commit any wrong doing, circumvent written policy, and violate State law and Federal regulations. Along with the upcoming HUD OIG comprehensive audit, it was disturbing to learn Mr. Timothy Donnelly, Broward State Attorney's Office Director of the Special Prosecution Unit, will be opening an investigation into our agency.
Therefore without delay, I require the following.
- Acknowledgement of this email.
- Upon receipt, forward a copy of this message to Mr. Donnelly and Mr. Armando Fana (US HUD) which outlines my areas of concern. Those concerns are listed at the bottom of this email.
- Carbon copies sent to the entire Board, Mayor Noland and Commissioners Miller, Preston, Popelsky, and Ganz.
I cannot stress the importance of your immediate compliance with this direct order.
Commissioner Michael Weiss
Deerfield Beach Housing Authority
Failure to Properly Procure Legal Services
The DBHA first began utilizing the services of Attorney Bill Crawford in 1993, while Attorney Tom Connick was Chairman of the DBHA Board.
- From 1993 through 2010, the ED failed to advertise an RFP for Legal Services, yet all other professional services were properly procured. (A/E, Audit, Fee Accounting, IT)
- In 2011, Attorney Bill Crawford was commissioned to write the DBHA Legal Services RFP, and prospective Bidders were instructed to correspond with him.
- Bid scoring sheets from the September, 2011 demonstrate that numbers were crossed out and changed post-scoring. Were if not for these inconsistent scoring changes, another firm would have won the Bid. Eg. Higher score one cost when his costs were higher. Crawford won the Bid with the adjusted numbers.
- A conflict of Interest existed in which one of the scoring Commissioners who changed scoring numbers, Giannino, was actively negotiating a favorable Promissory Note with Attorney Crawford for funds due the DBHA.
Conflict of Interest Violation
A serious conflict of interest violation exists between DBHA agent Architect Kimberly Dellastatious (A/E Services Bid 2008) and her husband, Contractor Don Ridge of Ridge General Construction.
- Ridge General Construction was the recipient of a $42,000 No-Bid/Single Quote Outbuilding Conversion contract paid through the Palms of Deerfield Town Home account, a $10,000 public housing contract for Unit #76- Stanley Terrace apartments in which Ridge was the highest quote three door replacement projects in which he was the highest quote in two cases. Architect Kimberly Dellastatious was involved in all of Ridge projects in some capacity and made arrangements to pick up payments for Ridge.
- The Procurement Corrective Action Plan submitted to the DBHA Board by ED Pam Davis in February, 2010 fails to inform the Board that a relationship existed between the parties.
- In August 2009, the ED signed a contract with Best-Tec Inc. for the abatement of asbestos in 47 units at $2,200 per unit for a total contract cost of $103,400. No formal bid was done.
- In August 2009, the Ed began utilizing the services of ETS Environmental Inc. to conduct testing in the units at $575 per unit for a total contract cost of $27,025. No contract was present. No formal bid was done.
- The Procurement Corrective Action Plan submitted to the DBHA Board by ED Pam Davis in February, 2010 omitted payments made to Best-Tec Inc. so that it appeared that the DBHA had not exceeded the $25,000 Bid Threshold and the Board was informed that Operating funds were not subject to procurement regulations.
Non-Compliance with Small Purchase Procedures
A review of small purchase procedures, those between $1,000 and $25,000 for the period of January, 2008 through October 2010, by Forensic Auditor Kessler International demonstrated a consistent pattern of noncompliance with obtaining the required quotes when certain vendors were concerned. One vendor in particular that should be examined is Geophil Enterprises Inc. Geophil Enterprises submitted a 400% increase for services for employee training with no other quotes received and a $5,000 charge for Strategic Planning with no other quotes received.
Also, you can find the letters from West and the Office of the Inspector General below:
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