RI Government Is Good at Siphoning Money, RI Housing Edition

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Naturally, a spokesperson for Rhode Island Housing is poo-pooing the size of the dollar amounts, but Rhode Island’s share of questionable expenditures in a federal housing program is shocking.  Dan McGowan and Walt Buteau report on WPRI:

Rhode Island Housing is one of 19 agencies throughout the country accused of misusing $3 million in federal funds earmarked for homeowner relief, according to an audit released last month by the office of the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP).

The 93-page audit identified $1.2 million in unnecessary expenditures by Rhode Island Housing, including funds spent on a new customer center, severance payments for former employees and marketing costs.

That’s nineteen agencies, and little Rhode Island accounts for 40% of the questionable expenditures.  In other words, for every $2.50 that the audit is challenging across the country, RI Housing accounts for $1.00.  Whether the folks at RI Housing are correct that the auditors were misguided, one must wonder why it is that our little state was notably caught up in that difference of opinion.

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My opinion, for what it’s worth, is that the Obama administration liked just about any government spending.  Indeed, spending money (which means having to collect it, somehow) was arguably its highest goal.  And Rhode Island government is particular adept at finding ways to spend money.  Winks and nods come cheaply in such interactions.

However these allegations may shake out, Rhode Islanders should take the opportunity to consider, once again, whether we’re well served by a government that seems always to be funneling money to itself and its employees.

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  • stuckinRI

    RI Housing charged TARP

    – for rent (back dated) for three years the program was not even active….. pure genius!!
    – “$114,596 to pay all employees an additional $105 per month ($1,260 per year) that can, but does not have to, be used to defray parking and transportation costs. This is the equivalent of cash.”
    Read the report if you want to see examples of Government waste in action.
    This money was earmarked to help homeowners caught up in bad loans. Sure there is operational overhead, but back dating rent to a program that was closed for 3 yrs…….

    • Rhett Hardwick

      This is unfortunately common in housing programs. Quite simply, it is the amount of money floating around, with slight oversight. Recall the “Keating Five” (of which John McCain was an “unindicted co-conspirator) during the housing/banking debacle of the 90’s. Retired senators seek employment as “HUD Consultants (a number have been indicted). Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I understand organized crime has it’s hooks fairly deeply into a number of “non-profits” who obtain money from HUD. I recall a street corner in Boston where you could “order” boilers, etc., previously scheduled for installation in, or removed from,. subsidized housing.

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