- Associated Press - Saturday, March 19, 2016

DALLAS (AP) - Dallas officials failed to maintain extensive oversight of nearly $30 million in taxpayer financing for more than 50 affordable housing projects, according to a new city audit.

The Dallas Morning News (https://bit.ly/1ZdmcnK ) obtained a copy of the audit, which was scheduled for public release Monday and sent to city officials Friday.

Instead of formally documenting its oversight, city officials relied extensively on the judgment of its “experienced professionals” to keep tabs on the projects, City Auditor Craig Kinton wrote.

The city could not look back and fully verify whether developers budgeted and spent the city’s money responsibly, finished their projects on time or were even qualified for the job in the first place, according to the audit. Some of the 54 single-family and apartment projects also lacked logs of construction site visits by inspectors.

Housing officials agreed with the report’s recommendations to create formal policies and procedures, the newspaper reported.

City Manager A.C. Gonzalez disputed key aspects of the audit’s findings, telling the newspaper that “limited, inconsistent or incomplete” documentation is difficult to believe.

“I would need to be shown directly as to that condition because it is outside of my experience,” he said.

An aide told the newspaper that Dallas Mike Rawlings had not yet reviewed the audit.

Councilman Scott Griggs, chairman of the council’s Housing Committee, called the report “terribly damning” and that it “indicates the housing department has been the wild, wild West.”

The report covered the end of former Housing Director Jerry Killingsworth’s 11-year tenure and the year after his departure. Killingsworth did not respond to the newspaper’s request for comment.

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Information from: The Dallas Morning News, https://www.dallasnews.com

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