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CALL 6: Indianapolis Housing Authority faces federal review

Posted at 10:51 PM, Nov 17, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS -- Call 6 Investigates has learned that he state's largest provider of public housing, the Indianapolis Housing Agency, is under federal review by the Housing and Urban Development Office of the Inspector General.

IHA released this statement saying, “It is working alongside the Office of the Inspector General throughout all phases of their survey. We remain committed to the integrity of our programs, while providing safe and affordable housing within the Indianapolis community.”

Call 6 Investigates has learned a possible focus of the review includes high profile multi-million dollar contracts involving the removal of asbestos in 2012 and a Buy American project beginning in 2008.

The OIG review ensures that projects meet federal regulations and federal standards.

There is no evidence that the asbestos removal or disposal posed any health dangers to the residents of Lugar Tower who are among some of the most vulnerable in Indianapolis including seniors, those coping with mental illness, and working families.

Call 6 obtained several internal reports from the IHA Office of Special Investigations which raised concerns about the asbestos project as well as the use of federal funds to buy Made in America products during a major renovation.

We attempted to talk with the investigator who generated the reports and instead got an e-mail asking us “to direct all questions to IHA headquarters.”

On the issue of asbestos,  Executive Director Bud Myers said during a June meeting of the IHA Board, "I can't comment on it now."

When I asked if it would be fair for the OIG to do an audit of the agency to clear up any questions that anyone may have, Myers responded by saying<“I'm sure they will do their job, so again I can't speak to it until I speak with my attorney."

Members of the agency's executive legal team did respond multiple times to Call 6 Investigates questions in writing.

On June 21, they said that questions raised by their own police investigators "have been fully addressed and resolved."

And in September, IHA went on to say "suggesting that it or its vendor did not comply with applicable environmental or immigration laws or regulations is inaccurate."

On the Buy American program, the agency provided a four page response with supporting documents saying the project was in compliance.

The HUD Office of the Inspector General met with IHA last week. Their initial findings may be available as early as January.

The findings may find the agency in full compliance or may details areas that need to be addressed or could lead to a full audit of the Indianapolis Housing Agency.

In recent weeks, Call 6 Investigates has also learned that several discrimination complaints have been filed with the EEOC especially after a turnover of staff at the Indianapolis office.