Millions of federal dollars that were supposed to help struggling Nevada home owners keep their homes instead funded a litany of wasteful expenses, including cars and holiday parties, according to an investigation from the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
HousingWire staffer Ben Lane reports that the state-designated contractor in charge of Nevada’s portion of the government’s Hardest Hit Fund wasted $8.2 million. This while the number of struggling home owners that the program actually helped was dramatically cut.
According to the SIGTARP investigation, the Nevada state agency received $16.6 million to pay for its expenses, but used only roughly half of that amount as designed.
The remaining $8.2 million went to a number of expenses that were well outside the boundaries of what the federal funding was designated for.
Christy Goldsmith Romero, Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, said the Nevada Affordable Housing Assistance Corporation used the program as a “cash cow.” “While Nevada home owners continue to struggle to recover from the financial crisis, federal dollars designated to help them have been used on holiday parties, luxury office rent, employee gift cards, and other wasteful expenses—even a $500 car allowance for a Mercedes Benz,” Romero said. “That is the textbook definition of waste and abuse.”