Mayor talks about Tampa Housing Authority

Tampa, Florida -- The Tampa Housing Authority headquarters is running millions of dollars over budget while many in public housing live in deplorable conditions.

One resident 10 News talked to said, "Much more could be done for the residents than what is being done over there for that new Taj Mahal."

For the first time since we began investigating the Tampa Housing Authority, Mayor Bob Buckhorn is expressing his concern. Mayor Buckhorn said, "Had I been mayor or had been in office at that time, I'm not sure the decision to buy that building was the best decision."

Buckhorn's concerns are echoed by U.S. Senator Charles Grassley, who wrote a scathing letter to the HUD secretary, Shaun Donovan. He's upset because HUD called the new building "a prudent decision," because it would only cost $5 million to buy and renovate, while a new building would cost $9 million.

But that was not the case. The Tampa Housing Authority has now spent more than $9 million on renovations to the building.

Buckhorn and Grassley also question why the housing authority has spent nearly a million dollars on travel and training since 2009.

In January 2014, Grassley also called out the Tampa Housing Authority on the Senate floor saying that $860,000 could have been used to provide housing to low income people, not a new facility.

When asked about his opinion on travel expenses, the mayor said, "I recognize travel. If you don't watch it, it can get out of control. That's public money you're dealing with."

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio is also concerned about the information we have uncovered, saying his office has requested information from THA following our reports and meeting with Grassley.

In November 2013, when HUD Secretary came to the THA headquarter to conduct an audit, THA Chief Operating Officer Leroy Moore told us, "We welcome credible organizations to come and look at our records because you're not credible."

Moore has been saying that for months and defends the Tampa Housing Authority by saying HUD rates it as a high performing agency.

Now 10 Investigates has discovered several high performing rated housing authorities around the nation are in trouble with the federal government for mismanaging funds.

"Hopefully with stories like this, if this administration has lost its focus, it will regain its focus," Buckhorn said.


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment