We audited the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s public housing program based on a request from the Office of Public Housing in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Richmond, VA, field office. The request was made after media inquiries noted possible fraud, waste, or abuse at the Authority. Our audit objective was to determine whether the Authority complied with HUD procurement requirements.
Under the leadership of its former chief executive officers, the Authority did not procure services associated with its public housing program in accordance with HUD procurement requirements. Specifically, it did not prepare an independent cost estimate and cost analysis before awarding contracts, did not maintain documentation to demonstrate that services were procured competitively, and did not ensure that option years were awarded competitively. The issues identified occurred because the Authority was not fully aware of HUD procurement requirements and mistakenly believed that it was properly procuring services. Because the Authority did not comply with HUD procurement requirements, HUD and the Authority had no assurance that more than $6.5 million in public housing operating funds paid under the contracts was fair and reasonable.
We recommend that HUD direct the Authority to (1) provide documentation to support that payments for services totaling more than $6.5 million were fair and reasonable or reimburse its program from non-Federal funds for any amount that it cannot support, (2) not exercise remaining option years for the contracts identified, and (3) implement controls in its procurement process to ensure that HUD requirements are followed. We also recommend that HUD provide technical assistance to the Authority to ensure that responsible personnel receive necessary procurement training.