Auditor mum on Ferriday Housing Authority probe

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 17, 2000

FERRIDAY, La. – Legislative Auditor Dan Kyle said Wednesday his office is investigating the Ferriday Housing Authority – but he would not give specifics of the probe or say what triggered it.

Two representatives of Kyle’s office were reviewing authority records Wednesday at the agency’s office. The investigators were also there for three days last week interviewing Director Charles Bell and the authority’s Board of Directors, Kyle said.

&uot;They’ll be looking at anything that comes to their attention, but I can’t confirm anything about what they are doing,&uot;&160;Kyle said. Neither Bell nor the authority’s four members – Antoinette Brown, Sammy Davis Jr., Marguerite Hayes and Adean Pipes – could be reached for comment Wednesday.

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Previously, Bell denied rumors that several pieces of property purchased to rent in recent years belong to him, not the authority.

But Kyle would not confirm that such rumors had anything to do with the investigation.

Kyle would not estimate how long the investigators’ onsite work could take but said a report of the investigation could be made public as early as four to six weeks after such field work is complete.

Once it completes an investigation, Kyle’s office can choose to forward a report of the probe to the local district attorney’s office or the Legislative Auditor’s Advisory Council, a panel of nine state legislators with the power to give offenders fines and jail time.

Kyle said officials of the Housing Authority are cooperating with his office in the investigation.

He added that, to his knowledge, the authority has never been investigated by his office before.

Another indicator of the authority’s performance is that the agency, which is audited annually by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, has gotten perfect or near-perfect performance scores from HUD for the past several years.

The authority operates 56 apartments at a complex on Louisiana 15 as well as a 12-unit development on Arkansas Avenue.