South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com
HUD audit recommends Deerfield Beach reimburse agency more than $200,000
City did not report to HUD relationships of two commissioners to groups receiving money
By Larry Barszewski, Sun Sentinel
1:34 PM EDT, October 1, 2010
A federal audit has criticized the city for not properly administering its Community Development Block Grant program and recommends officials seek reimbursement of more than $200,000 from the city.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development audit found the city awarded HUD funds to two organizations that were related to city officials because "the city lacked effective management controls to ensure compliance with HUD's conflict-of-interest regulations."
"As a result, HUD had no assurance that the city did not practice favoritism in the awarding of the funds," said the audit released this week by HUD's office of inspector general.
The findings surround City Commissioner Sylvia Poitier and former Commissioner Gloria Battles.
In 2009, Poitier voted in favor of $42,211 in two awards to the Haitian American Consortium, even though her dry-cleaning business was listed as the group's corporate address. Battles also voted in favor of an award to the consortium in 2009, even though she was designated as a project director.
Poitier also abstained from a vote awarding a $215,975 grant to the Westside Deerfield Businessmen Association, because her daughter was the group's executive director, but the city never disclosed this relationship to HUD, the audit said.
The audit said HUD should seek reimbursement of the money spent on the two groups – $224,742 – and said $33,444 in money not yet disbursed to the Westside association should be put to better use.
In a separate matter, the audit also says more documentation is needed or the city should be required to reimburse $142,248 for unsupported salary allocations.
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