A group called Government Crime Stoppers has posted a $10,000 reward for tips that lead to the prosecution of any public official involved in the funneling of HUD funds into undocumented housing development projects.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General has compiled a report detailing the financial irregularities in Dallas’ housing and economic development departments, according to Jim Schutze at the Dallas Observer, which is cited by Government Crime Stoppers.
After a year-long probe into Dallas City Hall, federal investigators have documented the funneling of federal grant money to undocumented community groups for the purpose of building houses. The legally required paperwork for these projects is allegedly nonexistent or falsified.
These groups have received millions of undocumented dollars — leaving the door to corruption wide open as public officials are able to manipulate the funds for self-serving purposes.
According to the Dallas Observer, Dallas City Hall became aware of the soon-to-be released report sometime last week, and City Council member Tennell Atkins promptly called a special meeting of the committees in question.
But council member Dwaine Caraway believes the problem has less to do with the CHDO operators and more to do with bigger fish upstream.
Whatever problems may bedevil the city’s federally and locally funded housing and economic development activities at the retail end, that much money could not have gone missing without the wholesale participation of people at City Hall in the era before the arrival of the current city manager….
Caraway is angry now, not so much because the feds are going after the CHDOs as because nobody ever seems to go after the people uphill at City Hall who sign off on these deals in the first place.
Schutze says the improper use of federal funds isn’t new for the city of Dallas, and references a similar situation that happened nine years ago.
Curtis Lockey and Craig MacKenzie were two downtown apartment developers in 2009 who forced HUD to carry out a four-year probe of Dallas housing activities. HUD’s final report found Dallas guilty of violating all the same laws under which the current OIG investigation is being carried out. In particular, Dallas had been using money devoted by law to achieving racial desegregation in ways that deliberately increased racial segregation downtown….
Those charges went straight to the top — the mayor, the council and top city officials, including the city manager. Lockey and MacKenzie also had brought suit against the city under the federal false claims act, a Civil War-era law that could have put the pair in position for an immense, even crippling financial recovery from city coffers. Had all of that gone forward, as seemed likely, the political outfall might have put the city’s old power elite out of business for good.
So they made it go away. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings traveled to Washington to chat with President Barack Obama’s newly appointed HUD secretary, former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro. And blink! It was gone.
Along with the $10,000 dollar reward posted for details on this OIG investigation, Government Crime Stoppers has also posted rewards for information about the withholding of public information at Houston City Hall, for details on sexual harassment and abuse at the legislature, and for tips on the Dallas County Schools case.
Encrypted and fully anonymous tips regarding the illegal actions of office-holders and other public servants are collected online through the world’s leading tip solution provider, Anderson Software.
“Our goal is not only to assist authorities in prosecuting open indictments but also to expose corruption that might not otherwise be discovered,” said Richard Carter, an advisor to Government Crime Stoppers and the former executive director of Crime Stoppers International, Inc.
Ben Murray can be reached at [email protected].