Lawmakers are making changes to Pasco Housing Authority following 10 News Investigators stories

11:17 PM, Mar 5, 2012   |    comments
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The Pasco County Housing Authority could have its board appointed by the Pasco County Board of Commissioners if House Bill 975, which passed unanimously through both chambers of the Florida legislature, is signed into law by Governor Rick Scott.

"Because of [10 News'] investigation, it was brought to our attention that something had to be done with the Pasco County Housing Authority," says Senator Mike Fasano, who sponsored the bill in the Senate along with Representative John Legg in the House.

Our investigation found the Pasco County Housing Authority is officially labeled a troubled agency. The board was not holding Executive Director Karen Turner accountable and Turner, who was having sex with her subordinates, was not holding the staff accountable.

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A HUD audit also said there was commingling of funds, significant overtime wages not supported by work orders, and too many maintenance staff with housing authority credit cards with excessive charges of $264,000. There was no documentation of expenses paid to the executive director and the housing authority did not comply with competitive bidding.

"This way you have local control and you have the commissioners deciding who will sit on the Pasco County Housing Board rather than the governor, who's 200-250 miles away," says Senator Fasano.

Fasano believes if there is local control over the housing authority, you won't get the same fiasco in Pasco that has been going on for the past several years.

"Had what you discovered a few months ago and had the county commission had the authority, they could have removed the board members and replaced them with different board members immediately," says Fasano.

Because the legislation passed both houses unanimously, and because of what has gone on at the Pasco Housing Authority, Fasano says he expects the governor to sign the bill so something like this can never happen again.

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