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November 15, 2012

Housing Audit Found Gross Mismanagement and

Waste Dating Back to 2007

Former Fiscal Manager Pled Guilty. Department Now Swept Clean

Mineola, NY – Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos released his audit of the Department of Housing and Community Development (OHCD) and found mismanagement, waste and fraud dating back to 2007, which resulted in a guilty plea by the former Fiscal Manager. Significant findings included overstatement of anticipated revenue for Section 8 housing dating back to 2007, inflated budgets which contributed to the write-off of $6.2 million to the County’s General Fund in 2011, a Housing official inappropriately authorizing payments of over $125,000 to a relative, spending over $120,000 to purchase unnecessary furniture, and executing contracts worth thousands of dollars that did not follow established County procurement procedures.

“From 2007 until early 2011, our audit shows that a department charged with helping the neediest of our County had been hurting our residents with mismanagement, waste and personal gain leading to an arrest and guilty plea,” Comptroller Maragos said. “It is appalling that this situation persisted for as long as it did. I commend the County Executive for taking action to sweep clean the previous management. The Department of Housing appears now to be operating more effectively, and assisting our residents to recover from Superstorm Sandy.”

The County Executive had moved early to install new management and requested this audit in order to uncover and fix the remaining issues. Numerous procedural changes, as recommended in this audit report, have been implemented.

Other improvements are still in progress and include:

 

  • Ensuring that the annual grant budgets submitted to the Office of Management and Budget and the County Legislature are properly supported by documentation from the granting authority regarding anticipated revenue.
  • Performing adequate reconciliations of grant revenues to grant expenditures, as required by the Federal Office of Management and Budget, and generally accepted accounting principles.
  • Developing procedures to ensure continuity and adequate knowledge in administration of the grants, record keeping and program management, as required by federal guidelines.
  • Continuing to assist (“HUD”) in reviewing payments made through two Village Housing bank accounts. Working with the County Attorney to resolve the potential liability for services claimed on an unexecuted contract.
  • Determining alternative uses for the $120,000 worth of unused furniture or listing it for sale to recoup some of the funds.

The OHCD is the local administrator for the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (“NYS HCR”). NYS HCR receives its funding from the United States Department of Housing & Urban Development (“HUD”). Most major OHCD programs and grants are 100% federally funded.

The OHCD acts as Nassau County’s agent in securing grants from HUD and New York State. OHCD must follow both HUD and New York State regulations and grant terms in administering the grants it receives. The mission of OHCD is to provide affordable and sustainable housing for the County’s most at risk population; to revitalize eligible neighborhoods throughout Nassau County; to work to attract, retain and expand business, and to facilitate the redevelopment of contaminated properties (Brownfields) in the County.

PDF File Limited Review of Housing and Community Development Grants Administration