10 News Investigators: Tampa Housing Authority CEO was under fire at another agency

12:50 AM, Dec 12, 2013   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida -- For the past several weeks, we have been telling you about what some are calling excessive spending at the Tampa Housing Authority by staff and board members, while residents live in less desirable conditions. That spending is the reason federal investigators are in Tampa this week looking at the agency.

But this isn't the first time the Tampa Housing Authority's CEO, Jerome Ryans, has had to deal with federal investigators asking questions about his agency's spending and how it treats those in public housing. The 10 News Investigators have uncovered that it also happened when Ryans was CEO of the Memphis Housing Authority.

An audit going back to 1997, to the time when Jerome Ryans was CEO of Memphis Housing Authority, details the problems. The Office of Inspector General of the Department of Housing and Urban Development produced a scathing 56-page report on Ryan's agency.

Among other things the audit found in Ryan's agency:

  • It was not fulfilling its primary mission of providing decent, safe, and sanitary housing for low income families.
  • A significant factor in the deterioration was poor maintenance, poor planning, inability to accomplish timely renovation, and ineffective use of funds.

In short, poor management.

While the inspectors admitted the the issues were old and not fully the fault of current management, they also found current management must bear some responsibility given their length of tenure.

One published report had Ryans blasting the audit, saying as a whole it was a sloppy job by the HUD auditors.

Meanwhile, the Memphis Housing Authority released a statement where it doesn't deny the finding in Memphis, but says it is unreasonable to compare it to the Tampa Housing Authority, which it says is a high-performing agency.

However, U.S. Senator Charles Grassley says that doesn't matter and Tampa is guilty of spending taxpayer dollars for questionable expenses.

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