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Hartford Courant
July 1, 2010

Audit firm hired to examine housing department

By Rebecca Dellagloria

Pompano Beach has hired a forensic auditor to review its Office of Housing & Urban Improvement, stemming from concerns over possible corruption within the department.

The City Commission awarded Kessler International a $40,000 contract last month to audit the department.

Several annual audits by the city and by outside auditors found "internal control breaches" when it came to the management of state and federal housing programs, according to a memorandum to the commission by Assistant City Manager Willie Hopkins.

The breaches were so bad that in 2007 the department had to return $600,000 to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development following a State Attorney's Office investigation into the management of state and federal funds.

A forensic auditor, Hopkins wrote in the memorandum, would "be able to determine the correctness of the programs" and "identify oddities, irregularities and possible corruption within the implementation of all federally and state funded programs."

City Commissioner Charlotte Burrie said she was not surprised that the city had reached the conclusion that it needed to examine the department. Burrie said she had shared concerns with possible abuses in the department as early as 18 months ago.

Burrie said she asked for a forensic audit more than a year ago, but was told it would be too costly.

"Let's get this straightened out," she said. "Those who have done wrong, let them be punished."

The city of Deerfield Beach hired Kessler International in February to audit its Community Development Division.

Copyright 2010, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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