Tampa, Florida -- As 10 Investigates the Tampa Housing Authority's spending practices, our stories are drawing national attention in Washington.
The U.S. Senate is being told what we uncovered about the Tampa Housing Authority. More questions and outrage keep surfacing, and now Senator Charles Grassley is calling the Tampa Housing Authority one of the most egregious for wasteful spending.
Grassley says, "While no one is watching, so much of the money gets spent on high salaries and perks for the people who run the housing authorities."
10 Investigates found Tampa Housing Authority executives exceeding the federal $155,000 salary cap through what Grassley calls "creative accounting." We exposed a new multi-million dollar state of the art building, which some, including former mayor Pam Iorio, say wasn't needed.
That purchase outrages Grassley, who told the Senate, "The Tampa Housing Authority purchased a new $7 million administrative office that includes nearly $3 million in renovations and upgrades. That could have helped hundreds, if not thousands, of poor people needing housing."
We also spent weeks analyzing documents that show THA spent $860,000 for traveling to conferences and training since 2009.
According to Grassley, "That's $860,000 that could be used to provide affordable housing for low income families."
Grassley says HUD must reel in wasteful agencies like the Tampa Housing Authority, saying, "If you just hand this money out with no strings and no oversight, it gets diverted and misused. Wasted money doesn't help the poor."
THA said it is helping the poor and complying with the law, but according to Grassley this issue isn't going away.
Grassley is pushing for a change in the federal bureaucracy. "Washington should first try to get the most bang for the buck out of existing programs before rushing to create more. For example, too many housing dollars go to executives and bureaucrats instead of people in need. "
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