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Sun Sentinel
June 22, 2010

Pompano Beach authorizes forensic audit of housing and development programs
Kessler International, already working for Deerfield Beach, wins another job in Broward County

By Linda Trischitta

POMPANO BEACH - Pompano Beach hired the same auditor that Deerfield Beach is using to review its housing and development programs.

Consultant and auditor Michael Kessler was awarded a $40,000 contract plus $5,000 in expenses Tuesday night by the Pompano City Commission to review its Office of Housing and Urban Improvement.

Several annual audits by the city and its external auditors found that different programs within the city agency did not conform with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development regulations and guidelines, City Manager Dennis Beach said Tuesday before the commission vote.

"There were problems with documentation and record keeping that HUD needs to determine if you've been doing it properly," Beach said. "This predates existing staff."

The city had to return approximately $600,000 to HUD in 2007 after the state attorney investigated the department in 2006 for mismanagement of state and federal housing programs, according to backup documents for the proposed Kessler contract.

Assistant City Manager Willie Hopkins Jr. wrote that the reasons for the forensic audit include, "... to identify oddities, irregularities and possible corruption ..." in federal and state funded programs.

Kessler is also under contract with Deerfield Beach for up to $100,000. His firm has examined the operations of Deerfield's Community Development Division, where two employees were put on paid administrative leave after Kessler issued his report, as well as the Deerfield Beach Housing Authority.

Linda Trischitta can be reached at ltrischitta@sunsentinel.com or 954-356-4233.


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