An audit of the Little Rock Housing Authority, also known as the Metropolitan Housing Alliance, by the inspector general of the Housing and Urban Development Department found it had mismanaged its rental assistance demonstration program.

Mismanagement by the perennially troubled and law-ignoring authority? What’s old news is news again.

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The authority was already considered “troubled” by HUD, which provides a major source of funding. It has been struggling to make the transition from running housing projects to transitioning them to the Section 8 rental subsidy program.  It has been searching for a new director, a search marred by the sketchy records of some applicants and the Authority’s disdain for the Freedom of Information Act’s requirement of open meetings and ready access to documents.

The audit found the authority did not:

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(1) ensure timely completion of its conversions, (2) properly account for predevelopment costs as required, and (3) resolve a potential conflict of interest. In addition, the Authority’s executive management and board members did not communicate effectively.

The audit recommends that:

Acting PIH Director require the Authority to (1) develop and implement an achievable plan to close its remaining projects and complete its RAD program conversions; (2) support or repay $1,925,814 in predevelopment costs to its program from nonfederal funds; (3) design and implement financial controls to ensure that predevelopment costs are properly accounted for and eligible, thereby putting $829,544 to better use; (4) develop and implement procedures to identify, report, and resolve conflict-of-interest and ethics concerns; and (5) design and implement adequate control systems to ensure that the executive management team provides oversight of its RAD program.

The interim director of the alliance abruptly resigned April 12 amid the search for a new director.

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