Hours after the FBI raided the West Haven Housing Authority on Tuesday morning, the mayor is asking for voluntary resignations from all commissioners of the housing authority.
"While I do not know why today's action was initiated, separate and apart from that, I can say we have been in direct communication with (the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) since December. HUD has been conducting an ongoing financial investigation and we received HUD's Financial Assessment report in June," Mayor John Picard said in a statement on Tuesday. You can read the full statement here.
When the report was issued, Picard met with the commissioners and executive director about the report.
"The Executive Director has announced his plan to retire at the end of summer. I am now requesting the voluntary resignations from all Commissioners so that we can move forward with a goal of greater oversight, management and accountability at the Housing Authority," Picard wrote.
The Associated Press reported that FBI agents took boxes and filing cabinets out of the offices on Tuesday.
The FBI does not comment on ongoing investigations and it was not immediately clear who or what the targets of the raid are.
In June, the city received a copy of a HUD Financial Assessment report that looked into financial practices at the West Haven Housing Authority.
"WHHA's viability is at risk due to the agency's poor financial condition, which is the result of a lack of internal controls over spending and a series of unsound management decisions," according to the report.
The report details numerous problems including:
- The misuse of authority credit cards by the Executive Director who charged $22,136 in cash advances at casinos in New Jersey and Connecticut. He paid the authority for those charges only after auditors discovered them.
- $260,000 of Housing Choice Voucher funds that were transferred to a non-federal program.
- $57,000 paid to a consultant for a program that was never created.
- The executive director double-billed the authority for $38,595 in supplemental fees owed to him.
- The authority had an unqualified internal accounting staff that resulted in the authority spending $68,000 on outside accounting fees.
- The authority had an excessive administrative staff.