News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

April 23, 2008

Ex-Housing Authority exec: HUD is wrong

Patrick Barder dismisses federal allegations

TERRE HAUTE — Former Terre Haute Housing Authority executive director Patrick Barder is dismissing as untrue the HUD allegations of non-compliance in procedures and spending during the years he headed the Housing Authority.

Barder, who ran the Terre Haute Housing Authority for 25 years until 2007, when his contract was not renewed by the board of commissioners, flatly stated there has been no unaccounted-for spending and no violations of government regulations.

“There is no missing money. There never was any missing money,” Barder, who has relocated to Indianapolis, said Wednesday.

At a recent meeting, Housing Authority board members also spoke of $38,000 in “unallowable credit card expenses” as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which oversees the Housing Authority.

“There is no such thing,” Barder said of the alleged credit card expenses. “No such thing.”

Earlier this month, HUD sent a letter to the Terre Haute Housing Authority saying it was in “substantial non-compliance” with HUD regulations. The letter said there had been non-compliance, for example, in determining annual income for tenants of Housing Authority homes. It also said that the local Housing Authority must not deny the transfer of housing vouchers as an across-the-board policy.

“I can state for a categorical fact that my people were computing rent properly,” Barder said. The staff “at the Terre Haute Housing Authority is without a doubt the most talented and outstanding staff, as far as I’m concerned, that I’ve ever seen at any other housing authority.”

Barder said the policies and procedures of the Terre Haute Housing Authority were in line with regulations and were approved by the Housing Authority’s seven-member governing board of commissioners.

The statement in the letter from HUD that local housing officials are not allowed to assume tenant income for rent purposes is not correct, Barder said. Housing officials are allowed to do that if they follow HUD guidelines, he said.

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