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Audit: LA Housing Dept. Short $48M In Fees

Controller Greuel slams 'unacceptable' amount
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(AP/FILE)

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The Los Angeles Housing Department has issues both collecting funds and putting those that are collected to use, according to an audit released Tuesday.

The audit by the City Controller’s Office found that LAHD had failed to collect at least $48 million in fees designated for its two largest funds, while $10.4 million spread across 10 funds in the organization went unspent for at least the past two years.

Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel called the amount of uncollected fees “unacceptable.” Of the fees that were collected, $36 million were at least five months late.

KNX 1070’s Chris Sedens reports

“The Housing Department does a very good job helping to build housing, they’re not good at collecting money,” she said. “While the city will never achieve a 100 percent collection rate, city departments must do a better job of sending these delinquent accounts to agencies more equipped to collect the outstanding funds.”

Greuel also said she was troubled that such a large amount of the agency’s collected fees had not been used.

“Particularly during these difficult economic times, we can’t ask businesses — in this case property owners — to pay additional fees that are going to simply sit in an account unused,” she said. “LAHD must work to immediately spend these funds for their intended purposes or seek to transfer them to be used for related housing programs.”

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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