By Associated Press - Wednesday, June 25, 2014

PEMBROKE, N.C. (AP) - The Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina will accept a reduction in housing grants to repay the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for improper expenses.

The tribe has agreed to grant reductions over the next two years to repay $416,000 in expenses that were not allowed under the program, The Fayetteville Observer ( ) reported.

The agreement covers the tribe’s misuse of housing grants last year, agency spokesman Joseph Phillips said..

The agreement calls for HUD grants to the tribe to be cut by about $208,000 in each of the next two years.

The block grant program is designed to provide housing assistance for lower low-income Indian families. The Lumbees have received more than $184 million in housing grants since 2001.

Tribe chairman Paul Brooks signed the agreement last week.

Under the agreement, HUD will not seek enforcement action against the tribe’s housing grant program.

A federal audit determined that $416,562 in unallowable expenses was spent on stipends for council members from Oct. 1, 2010, to Aug. 30. The stipends were “unreasonable and unnecessary,” the audit stated.

The tribe responded that previous audits had not questioned the stipends.

That audit also found the tribe had about $37,000 in unallowable expenses for gasoline, legal fees and gatherings. The tribe has repaid $6,813.10, the agency said.


Information from: The Fayetteville Observer,

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