A very interesting article appeared recently in the Daily Freeman. It deals with a significant dispute between the current Gallo administration and the former Sottile administration.
By way of background, the Director of the City Community Development Office, Jen Fuentes, and the Corporation Counsel, Andrew Zweben, reported to the Common Council Finance Committee that $30,000 needed to be transferred to the Development Office. This money will go to the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and will eventually be returned to the city.
It seems that HUD has made a determination that two projects completed with federal community block grant money during the Sottile regime were not eligible under the program.
Alderman Hoffay, the Finance Chair, suggested that Ms. Fuentes and Mr. Zweben were lying and demanded a written letter or order from HUD before he would allow a vote on the subject. This is not unexpected as Alderman Hoffay has gone out of his way to undermine the Gallo administration. His motives rest upon his refusal to properly accept and deal with the fact that the candidate he supported in the 2011 Democrat primary for Mayor was defeated by Shayne Gallo.
Nevertheless, the response from Jen Fuentes was really shocking. She said that if the Council refused to appropriate the money, it could result in HUD doing a full audit of the use of federal money during the Sottile administration. She said that HUD already determined 2 improper uses of federal money by the Sottile administration and that they would be "the tip of the iceberg".
Alderman Hoffay accused her of "smearing" Sottile, and the former Mayor of course offered his own comments saying that he had done nothing wrong and that HUD was wrong. (How many times I have I heard Sottile over the years denying wrongdoing? I wish I had a nickel for each time).
The question occurring to me is what did Ms. Fuentes mean about the "tip of the iceberg"? Are there other instances of misuse of federal funds? Would a formal audit reveal malfeasance of some kind by the prior administration?
Sottile said he "welcomes" an audit. Perhaps he should be careful what he wishes for. He might just get it.