Kyle: Housing report to be released May 21

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 17, 2001

FERRIDAY, La. – Louisiana Legislative Auditor Dan Kyle said Monday his office is scheduled to release a report of its audit of the Ferriday Housing Authority on May 21.

&uot;As of now, we’re still working on it,&uot; Kyle said. Auditor’s officials have been conducting on-site work, including interviews and reviews of authority records, for the investigation off and on since mid-August.

Kyle said earlier this year the report could be released as early as mid-March, but he did not say Monday what has delayed the work. He has also refused to comment on the focus of the investigation until it is complete.

Charles Bell, director of the Ferriday Housing Authority, could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon.

In previous reports, Bell denied rumors that several pieces of property that were purchased to rent in recent years belong to him, not the authority. But Kyle would not confirm that such rumors had anything to do with the investigation.

Once it completes an investigation, Kyle’s office can choose to forward a report of the probe to the local district attorney’s office or the Legislative Auditor’s Advisory Council, a panel of nine state legislators with the power to give offenders fines and jail time.

Kyle has said that officials of the Housing Authority are cooperating with the investigation and that, to his knowledge, the authority has never been investigated by his office before.

The report, compiled by authority CPA Mike Estes of Fort Worth, Texas, shows budget overruns, property purchases and loans not federally approved, and a lack of documentation of some expenses from 1997 to 2000.

In a written response to that report, Bell explained some of the report’s findings and said that actions would be taken to correct its other findings.

The authority, which is also audited annually by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, operates 56 apartments at a complex on Louisiana 15 as well as a 12-unit development on Arkansas Avenue.