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We conducted a review of the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh’s payments for outside legal services in conjunction with an ongoing internal audit of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) oversight of public housing agencies’ expenditures for outside legal services.  Our review objective was to determine whether the Authority made payments for outside legal services in compliance with applicable requirements.

We found that the Authority did not always make payments for outside legal services in compliance with applicable requirements.  It paid for legal services that were not within contract terms and did not always maintain adequate documentation to support payments for legal services.  These problems occurred because the Authority lacked controls to ensure that it adequately verified invoices before payment and followed Federal requirements and contract terms.  As a result, the Authority made $141,164  in unsupported payments for outside legal services using its Moving to Work program funds. 

We recommend that the Director of HUD’s Pittsburgh Office of Public Housing (1) determine whether the documentation the Authority provided and any additional documentation it provides in response to the review are adequate to support the $141,164 in unsupported payments identified by the review or require the Authority to reimburse its program from non-Federal funds for costs that it cannot support; and (2) require the Authority to develop and implement controls to ensure that invoices for legal services are adequately verified and its payments for outside legal services are made in accordance with the terms of the related contracts and other applicable requirements.