Sen. John McCain on Friday condemned alleged money mismanagement by the Navajo Housing Authority, which he said spent $803 million in federal funds to build only 1,110 homes in a community desperately in need of them.
"The investigation completed by my office confirms that the Navajo Housing Authority remains a broken public housing agency that is grossly misusing taxpayer funds," McCain, R-Ariz., said. "Navajo Nation is facing a housing crisis, but the NHA has not delivered on its promise of providing affordable, livable homes for its people. I am calling on my colleagues in the Senate to join me in holding congressional hearings and developing legislation that advances critical reforms."
McCain released a 15-page report that found "poor administration," of federal housing grants by the NHA that has led to "excessive risk of waste, fraud and abuse."
Among the findings in the report was a pattern of spending abuse by the NHA board, which for example, traveled to Hawaii and Las Vegas and increased its per diem rate for travel from $255 to $355.
The travel issues, the report found, "created at least and appearance of impropriety."
The NHA also made use of expensive outside consultants, potentially skirting procurement laws and duplicating existing in-house services.
The report said investigators could not determine if any of criminal misconduct occurred. But the report calls on the Navajo to reform the NHA board and oversight structure and for Congress to reduce federal funding if the NHA cannot build more housing with the unspent funds.
The report called for closer monitoring by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which provides the housing grants.