Monday, November 19, 2012

"The Tip of the Iceberg"?

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.


Anonymous said...

Sottile has to maintain his sense of bravado. He knows what he did and probably thought he could get away with it. This is the first time in many years that the Office of Community Development has had a qualified director and the skeletons are falling out of the closet due to her(Fuentes) scrutiny.

Anonymous said...

Lets tell it like it is...The ONLY person who has not gotten over the fact that Gallo won the primary is GALLO!!!! Everytime someone disagrees with the Gallo it is because they supported Hayes Clement, it can not possible be that someone other than Gallo has a good idea!

Anonymous said...


Let's see, the Hayes contingent has brought forward a lot of really good ideas, like refusing the request of the director of community development to make nice with HUD so that they cut us some slack and not hold the improprieties of the former administration against the present admin.

Another good idea like forcing the feds to demand that we give back the money rather than volunteering to return it.

After all, far be it from a federal agency to take it personally when a locality misrepresents the facts when applying for grants that are meant for a particular low income population.

Pretty simple concept. If the locality gets in-front of the issue, accepts responsibility and promises better practices in the future, there can be some forgiveness and understanding from the Feds.

When the Feds are forced to demand the money back, there is no good will and the locality ends up on the black list and every application that is submitted is treated as suspect.

Lets also remember that the project was not only completed in the middle of Hoffay's ward, the grant was for work that was done in front of the building that houses Kevin Cahill's office where Tom works.

Can this smell any worse?

Unfortunately, it can and will smell worse when the rest of the issues are brought to light, and sit tight, because that light will shine pretty soon.

Anonymous said...

eopastem 3316Yeah. I wonder how much money Steve Finkle funneled to the Trolly Museum when he was the administrator of Comm. Devel.

Anonymous said...

A full audit should be done. Community Development has been a slush fund for years.

First there was Charlie Thomas and then Mike Murphy. Both mens' only qualifications were that they were licking Sottile's boots.

I for one want to see the rest of the iceberg.

Anonymous said...

What about Nat Collins working for Community Development and he owed the KLDC for a loan that he never paid on. Garnish his wages KLDC.

Anonymous said...

I woonder if the CDBG funds used for the Kirkland Hotel project by RUPCO where eligible?