Broward News

Allen West Seeks Investigation Into Deerfield Beach Housing Authority

Chalk this one up as a "plus" for Rep. Allen West -- he's asked the acting inspector general of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to launch a "full investigation" into the Deerfield Beach Housing Authority.

For those keeping score on the local government scene, Deerfield's housing authority has been under scrutiny by citizen activists for a long, long time -- most notably by Chaz Stevens.

"It has come to my attention by several sources that there may be criminal issues involved in the conduct of the Deerfield Beach Housing Authority," West writes. "These issues may involve nepotism, bid rigging, and procurement violations."

The City of Deerfield Beach had hired Kessler International, a forensic auditing firm, to look into the actions and procedures of the housing authority.

Kessler completed the audit in February, no thanks to the housing authority.

According to Kessler, the housing authority refused to hand over documents crucial to the audit, which Stevens says includes a request by Kessler for "Bank Statements for Deerfield Beach Housing Authority for 1/1/08 to Present."

Pam Davis, executive director of the housing authority, told the Pompano Pelican, "As far as we knew, we gave them everything they requested."

But Kessler says in that request for bank statements, not only did the housing authority not turn over information detailing two bank accounts but the statements they delivered to the firm also had multiple timeline gaps. Kessler also contends it didn't receive a listing of small purchases it requested, nor did it receive a listing of offers, quotes, or proposals handled by the housing authority.

The point of undelivered documents was also explained within Kessler's report:

During the review of the records, it was observed that the date for these offers/quotes/proposals ranged from April 2009 to November 2010. The way in which these records were provided give the appearance that these records were haphazardly put together, resulting in Kessler attempting to organize and piece together the records in order to establish a proper chain of events. Furthermore, proposals from the DBHA requesting such services were not provided, hampering Kessler's ability to analyze the records thoroughly.

In Rep. West's letter, he says he's alarmed about the possible waste of taxpayer dollars, which is furthered by Deerfield Beach Mayor Peggy Noland, who has said she's ready to get rid of everyone on the board of the housing authority.

"I am very concerned that there has been a misuse of taxpayers' money by the Deerfield Beach Housing Authority," West writes. "In this fiscally constrained environment it is incumbent upon federal agencies to ensure that federal funding is being used appropriately."

This is a pretty big victory for Stevens, who's been chiseling away at alleged -- and sometimes confirmed -- corruption in Deerfield Beach.

Stevens tells New Times he was able to reach out to West through his friendship with local conservative radio host Joyce Kaufman.

Although Stevens is a self-described socialist/genius, he says he has a great relationship with Kaufman due to her diligence with local politics and corruption.

Check back with the Pulp to make sure West's letter doesn't fall upon deaf ears.

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