Austinites Lobbying for Municipal Accountability (ALMA) has been working with The Travis County Green Party (TCGP) and the Austin Gray Panthers (GP) on a situation that parallels the type of concerns reflected in the media stories, investigative inquiries and indictments
that have taken place in other municipalities such as Dallas; Houston; San Antonio; New Orleans; Newark; Washington D.C. (click here) & (click here) and North Carolina / Atlantic Beach.
matters concern a National issue reflected on a Local level and involve alleged corruption
that has been identified as 'business as usual' in Dallas, Houston, and possibly now Austin. Questions of alleged forgery, un-accounted for Federal Housing Funds; contract fraud; and patterns
& practices, have been supported with voluminous documentation, and have been brought to the attention of Public Officials in Austin and Travis County. However, as far as we know, it is not being investigated by Federal, State, County
or City authorities which under Title 18 U.S.C. mandates responsiveness when potential
wrong-doing is brought to their attention.
Click here for a chronological listing of the Travis County Green Party Referrals to the U.S. Attorney
and Travis County District Attorney; and the Green Party Press Releases which include the December 3, 2009 publication in NOKOA "Will
Citizen Public Accountability Demands Be Met?" Rudolph Williams of Blackshear Neighborhood Association; Jim Harrington of the Texas Civil Rights Project, and others raise a collective question about public officials'
Austinites Lobbying for Municipal Accountability (A.L.M.A.),
is primarily a local coalition representing those disposed and harmed by the questionable practices through the City of Austin's
(CoA) Housing &/or Energy Programs; and which involve possible fraud, and patterns & practices with regard to broken
contracts, abandoned or unnecessarily delayed projects, CoA payments to contractors; CoA inspection practices; lead paint;
and other. The coalition's concerns continue to be neglected and ignored by City, County, State and Federal administrative
and justice authorities to address their claims and requests for accountability.
The story goes deeper as reflected
in a sampling of A.L.M.A. Coalitions' Individual Stories/Grievances. For example:
- Intent to Harm: The fact that the City of Austin required (enforced via a lien with Power of Sale) that a mother and her young child
live in her unfinished home for over 6 years, and after CoA abandoned the
'construction' (destruction) of her home, leaving it contaminated with hazardous levels of lead-paint dust and posing deleterious health effects upon the mother and child.
A.L.M.A.'s appeals to our Public Officials are reflected in letters to the Austin City Manager, City Council
Members, San Antonio HUD Regional, the U.S. Attorney, and the Travis County District Attorney's Office. A sampling of grievances with Accompanying Comprehensive 152-page documentation is available at the Travis County Green Party website: See:
In spite of A.L.M.A., Gray Panthers of Austin,
and the Travis County Green Party providing this information up the line, asking questions brought to the attention of City
of Austin Council, the Mayor, H.U.D. Regional San Antonio up to Washington D.C., U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton and the Travis County District Attorney's Office -- the HomeOwners / Clients have received no redress.
silence is deafening and makes a profound statement.
IN CONCLUSION:In the interest of the Public, and on behalf of
taxpayers and the Health and Safety of future clients / homeowners, or small business
applicants of like programs, we urge the appropriate entities to bring the Public's attention to this issue for
the purposes of securing Fiduciary & Fiscal Accountability; and for safeguarding the Public (including children) from potential Health and Safety Hazards related to apparent patterns of practices
involving payment authorizations, code-work / inspections and lead-paint.
The Public has a right to know if questionable stewardship of Public funds is adversely
impacting Small Business, Community
and Families & Children.
again, this issue is not an isolated case. Several articles written recently (including reader comments) illustrate
the breadth, brevity and potential for widespread corruption and abuse of this issue:
Conclusion, the Travis County Green Party, the Austin Gray Panthers and Austinites Lobbying for Municipal Accountability are simply asking the questions that need to be answered and investigated
by the appropriate authorities. However, the authorities charged with protecting the public and investigating allegations
of corruption and misuse of Federal (housing) funding have not responded to repeated attempts to have these grievances addressed,
reviewed and investigated for potential illegality and the widespread issue involving the application of the Public Trust.
PUBLIC INTEREST QUESTIONS:
- Federal Stimulus Funds;
Local & Federal Subsidies;
- Public Health & Safety
- Has the City of Austin violated the Public Trust?
- Has the City of Austin used bait-and-switch tactics re. its Housing / Energy Programs?
Re. FEDERAL STIMULUS FUNDS: How can authorities
and their vendors who have misused or abused these Federal / Local Funds be trusted with more of these funds
(We're not opposed to
these funds being applied, but we are opposed to the funds being given to the same entities when previous accountability questions
Federal Criminal Statutes been violated with regard to forgery, misapplication of Federal funds, Fraud, Waste and Mismanagement?
(an informal layman's review)
we sampled approximately 115 previous City of Austin 'affordable'
housing projects (which fall under CoA's 'Homestead Preservation' inititiatives),
clients of the estimated 115 allegedly completed projects could not be contacted at the project address -- in fact it appears that some lots
were vacant, devoid of a home at all.
- How does the City of Austin justify the use of federal grant money (and now Federal Stimulus Funds) for program(s) that are promoted as 'Homestead Preservation' Initiatives
when possibly 48 of approximately 115 homeowners no longer live in, or own
- When we sampled a collection of the City of Austin Environmental Checklists for some of these Affordable Housing contracts (which primarily
involved structures built prior to 1978), 83%
revealed that City of Austin project specialists either left the answer blank,
or checked "N/A" for the question: "does the home contain lead-based paint?"
- The City of Austin HUD-funded affordable housing project records include a document which lists
projects for a specific Fiscal Year. 26 projects/clients are listed on this document. One client
was the CoA contractor's daughter. Of the remaining
25 City of Austin Home Rehabilitation
Projects / Clients:
- 6 are confirmed complaints to A.L.M.A. (24%)
(although CoA records do not appear to reflect all of these complaints);
- 3 more are apparent complaints / problems / delays,
- leaving only 16
of the 25 projects as apparent successes (or a possible 64% 'success' rate).