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UPDATED: Fact-checking HUD claim

By Jill Terreri

The claim that the city has had to repay funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has been repeated at least twice by Republican mayoral candidate Sergio R. Rodriguez during recent debates. 

"Because of this mayor's lack of administrative capabilities, we had to return money to HUD," Rodriguez said Tuesday. 

It is true that the city has a checkered history in spending HUD funds stretching back three administrations, detailed in this explosive audit from 2011.

"The City is not able to demonstrate that it made the best use of CDBG funds to meet the community's needs," is one memorable line. 

The News' story about the audit is here, and a follow-up story, where the city claims it will not need to repay the funds, is here

The audit demands repayment of $500,000, and recommends justifying the spending of $24 million more, or return it. 

But the city "did not have to return any funds to HUD," agency spokesman Adam Glantz said today.

When HUD determined that certain activities were ineligible for HUD funding, the city had to use its own funding for those, Glantz said. The federal funds could then be used on other, eligibile activities, he said. 

UPDATE: Rodriguez's campaign has brought my attention to this Investigative Post story from July 2012, which states: "Auditors recommended the city repay nearly $500,000 in funds," and that HUD Buffalo office Director of Community Planning and Development William O’Connell said "about $100,000 has since been returned by the city and the balance is the subject of ongoing review."

The question I posed to HUD this week was whether the city has had to pay back funds since 2006, and I got the unequivocal response from Glantz above. I'll follow up with him to clarify further, but likely won't have an answer until after Labor Day. 

tagged

Byron Brown | City of Buffalo | Mayoral Campaign 2013 | Mayoral Race 2013 | Sergio Rodriguez
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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

[email protected]


Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

[email protected]


Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri | [email protected]


Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski | [email protected]

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