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ABC57 Exclusive: South Bend Housing Authority to be audited by HUD

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- ABC 57 News has exclusive details about an investigation into the South Bend Housing Authority. The City of South Bend has asked federal investigators to look into the agency.

Three months ago the South Bend Housing Authority's executive director stepped down after allegations of corruption, misuse of power and sexual harassment. At the time, both the mayor's office and the board of commissioners for the housing authority asked the U.S. Housing of Urban Development (HUD) to conduct an audit of the agency's finances.

Thursday, ABC 57 News learned HUD will be, in fact, sifting through the local agency's books with a fine-tooth comb.

When the allegations of sexual harassment came out, so did accusations that officials within the housing authority had been misusing federal funds and could have been pocketing some of that money. This audit will look at where the money went and if funding was spent properly.

The Indianapolis HUD office is planning to conduct a review of programs and finances at the South Bend Housing Authority. It is standard for the HUD's inspector general to perform occasional audits of local housing authorities. The difference here is that it was requested by Mayor Pete Buttigieg, as well as the South Bend Housing Authority's board of commissioners.

The formal request for an audit was made in February, just weeks before former Executive Director Marva Leonard-Dent resigned from her position. The mayor's letter to HUD cited allegations that contracts were being awarded and monitored improperly.

The letter goes on to state money is being misspent and that the allegations are being taking very seriously by the mayor and commissioners. The mayor also said the full audit and investigation will help correct the problem and restore confidence in the South Bend Housing Authority's operations.

ABC 57 asked HUD officials which housing authority leaders had been accused of misusing federal funds. In response, officials said they were not at liberty to discuss the matter during the audit. 

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