According to AZ Central, the San Carlos Apache Tribe's housing agency has been ordered to return millions of dollars to a federal account and may face other sanctions after an audit uncovered mismanagement, credit card abuse, conflicts of interest and favoritism in providing homes for needy families. The director of the agency, Ronald Boni resigned in October. The agency received $200 million in federal grants since 1988 and mounting evidence suggests that the money wasn't properly spent.
"The observed state of the housing stock maintained by SCAHA does not reflect the roughly $6 million in (federal) funds awarded annually," wrote inspectors.
"Much of SCAHA's managed housing stock is in deplorable, sometimes uninhabitable, condition. ... New construction projects were observed standing vacant due to a lack of water and sewer infrastructure, and rehabilitation projects were found to be incomplete, contrary to (tribal) reporting."
On July 30, HUD's Southwest Office of Native American Programs determined the Housing Authority was in "substantial noncompliance" with federal requirements.
HUD rescinded the tribe's authority to invest grant funds and gave a 30-day deadline for the return of all investment monies withdrawn from a federal account. That deadline was not met, according to HUD records.“A lot of the homes are cracked, and they (residents) are paying an arm and a leg. ... People are all stressed out. And we have a lot of homeless here.”
"The investment records were incomplete, some accounts lacking any documentation," auditors noted. "This was reportedly due to the executive director, Ronald Boni, being the sole SCAHA personnel authorized on some of the investment accounts." Boni was suspended amid the review, then quit, temporarily leaving other Housing Authority leaders with no access to the tribal accounts.Read More