A series of 10 News Investigator stories has resonated with Washington. The stories sparked a full-blown audit of the THA by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Tampa, Florida --The Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, is opening a full blown financial investigation into the Tampa Housing Authority (THA).
This investigation comes after a series of reports by the 10 News Investigators.
With thousands of people on the waiting list, the Tampa Housing Authority is having a hard time finding space for some of Tampa's neediest families.
But The 10 News Investigators crunched the numbers, and found the THA had plenty of money for some things: Like buying and remodeling new headquarters building at a cost of 7-million taxpayer dollars; paying the agency CEO Jerome Ryans $214,000 a year- which is almost $60,000 more than the HUD maximum- and hundreds of thousands of dollars for travel by the board and staff.
STORY: Investigators- Tampa Housing Authority spent thousands on travel
Friday we caught up with the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Shaun Donovan. HUD provides most of the money for the THA.
We asked him, "Mr. Secretary, as you are aware, we've done a series of stories questioning some of the expenditures of the Tampa Housing Authority. Can you tell me what HUD's position is on that?"
His response: "All I can say is that we are looking at investigating it and as a result I don't have any comment on it today."
Leroy Moore is second in command at the THA. Moore has spent more on travel than anyone else with the agency, more than $60,000 in three years, but Moore claims to be delighted that HUD is investigating the THA's spending practices.
Moore initially said our 10 News investigation had no merit, so we asked him Friday his position on HUD's newly launched investigation.
"We welcome credible organizations to come in and look at our records- you're not credible." Moore said before adding that he and THA "applaud the Secretary."
While HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan couldn't address the investigation, HUD officials in D.C. Friday morning said there will be a full-blown, financial audit of the housing authority.
In addition, the agency is in for more scrutiny because U.S. Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa is calling for action. Grassley has expressed concern over money being wasted by THA on the new building, travel expenses- and the fact that CEO Ryans' $214,000 salary is almost $60,000 above the HUD maximum.
The 10 News Investigators will stay on this story.
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