City audit confirms results in Shreveport housing probe
By Adam Kealoha Causey – December 24, 2009
A Shreveport audit backs findings from a criminal investigation that says the city funded a housing scam against the poor, elderly and disabled.
Some 81 percent of homes the city inspected after law enforcement stepped into the Community Development department show signs of shoddy work, according to the Shreveport internal auditor’s report. And 30 percent of the residences had incomplete repairs for which construction contractors received payment.
The audit examined Community Development’s Neighborhood Revitalization Program. That includes the Limited Repair Program, which is part of the criminal probe. Noted problems included leaky roofs, improperly anchored commodes and wrongly installed hot water heaters.
“Based on the results of our investigation it is our opinion that some of these actions, if proven in a court of law, could constitute fraud,” the report says. “As a result of the testwork we performed during this investigation, we documented other internal control weaknesses and will be providing an additional report concerning those issues for the Neighborhood Revitalization Program.”
The report found an additional contractor — besides four that were arrested in August — did not have proper credentials. Three Shreveport housing inspectors also were accused and remain banned from work.
Felony charges include filing false public records and contractor fraud. The seven — contractors Alphonso Williams, Santana Brown, Alex James III and James Lester and inspectors Ray Jones, Daniel Lacour and Jackie Mandigo have pleaded not guilty. Cases are pending in Caddo district court. Contractors made at least $315,000 since January 2008 on 25 Community Development projects.
The audit also showed unacceptable work done on homes through unpaid projects. Those include Paint Your Heart Out, which uses local volunteers, and World Changers, a partnership with the Southern Baptist Convention.
Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator, whose office initiated the legal case with the help of state police and the parish district attorney’s office, said his deputies reviewed the audit
“I was not pleased because you can’t be pleased that somebody gets duped out of their money,” Prator said Wednesday about the report’s results. “But it does give us the satisfaction to know that we’re exactly right in our findings.”
Mayor Cedric Glover said he was “disappointed in the number of discrepancies” but feels the city is moving in the right direction.
Besides firing the inspectors, Glover forced the resignation of a supervisor and other workers have been reassigned.
“Unfortunately, these same inspectors, supervisors and contractors were involved in several programs,” Glover said. “Although it appears there may be a couple of other contractors involved, I continue to hold the city inspectors and supervisors who were supposed to review and monitor these projects responsible. If further review indicates other culpable individuals, they will be appropriately disciplined.”
For the audit, the city hired an independent inspector to examine 37 houses out of about 200 homeowners it contacted. That contractor, who was paid $1,950 — $50 per house plus an extra $100 to review and discuss the report — is unnamed in the document, dated Dec. 14.
City Internal Auditor Leanis Graham said late Wednesday she would not release the inspector’s name without his permission.
Shreveport Chief Administrative Officer Dale Sibley identified the inspector as Benton-based Inertia Enterprises.
Prator’s special investigative team for political corruption, misspending and fraud — formed as a result of this investigation — still is examining potential criminal connections between Community Development and the Queensborough Neighborhood Association, the sheriff said. Some money flows from the department to the organization.
But the unit also is looking into other possible cases to hold other governments accountable, Prator said.
Information on Riverstone Residential knowingly exposing tenants to extreme amounts of mold toxins at Toxic Mold Infested Jefferson Lakes Apartments in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
A letter to the NAA regarding an email they deleted without reading – please retract your amicus in the Abad case in Arizona – it is fraud by a political action committee, the National Apartment Association, that is furthering another fraud by another political action committee, the US Chamber of Commerce
Political Action Committee – NAA – files Amicus Brief in mold case (two infant deaths in mold filled apt – Wasatch Prop Mgmt) citing US Chamber/ACOEM ‘litigation defense report’ to disclaim health effects of indoor mold & limit financial risk for industry
“Changes in construction methods have caused US buildings to become perfect petri dishes for mold and bacteria to flourish when water is added. Instead of warning the public and teaching physicians that the buildings were causing illness; in 2003 the US Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform, a think-tank, and a workers comp physician trade organization mass marketed an unscientific nonsequitor to the courts to disclaim the adverse health effects to stave off liability for financial stakeholders of moldy buildings. Although publicly exposed many times over the years, the deceit lingers in US courts to this very day.” Sharon Noonan Kramer