KTVU: Richmond police investigate housing authority maintenance manager


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blogimage.jpgRICHMOND, Calif. —Richmond's troubled Housing Authority now has another black eye. This time it comes in the form of serious allegations of corruption committed by a manager.

Richmond police say they're running two separate investigations, which they say could lead to more crimes committed by more people.

The Hacienda apartment complex is one of the biggest properties run by the Richmond Housing Authority. "I've been here a year and a half, and I didn't hear any noise, no kind of maintenance or anything until the last couple months," said Galen Banks.

The 60-year old Banks says things have improved recently, but he was disappointed to hear of possible corruption. "It just makes me angry. It really makes me angry. And how could it happen? I mean, don't they have laws governing those people?"

In fact, they do. "Public corruption is one of the crimes that has zero statute of limitations," explained Richmond Police Captain Mark Gagan.

The Department is now investigating 54-year old Debra Holter, the Housing Authority's maintenance manager.

"Been made aware that her husband is affiliated with one of the vendors who received a disproportionate amount of work and money from the housing authority, so there's an obvious conflict of interest." The city manager told KTVU Holter is on administrative leave as police investigate what happened to all the money that was earmarked for maintenance.

"In the last two years, $340,000," said Gagan. A lot of money, police say, but with little to show for it.

"Items were purchased from Home Depot, but never delivered to the residences or units. But rather, refurbished units were put in their place," said Gagan.

At Debra Holter's home, her husband, Sidney said she was away. He declined to comment on camera. But claiming she's being "railroaded", he said, "she's not guilty of doing anything other than the scope of her job".

And about his own involvement, he said, "I offered my services free of charge to make sure the contractors knew how to do the work".

Captain Gagan argued, "The sheer number of contracts that his company that he was affiliated with benefitted, there is a financial benefit to him".

Police add that there might have been others in the housing authority involved, or simply a culture that allowed this to happen.

Reposted from KTVU

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  • commented 2014-07-24 21:44:21 -0700
    “Coverage of the Richmond Housing Authority is my case in point. Recent coverage focuses on the sensational and on unverified allegations while neglecting the nutritious and healthy heavy lifting of actually digging into the causes and the solutions.
    What the press has avoided like prickly pear is any serious examination of why these conditions exist and what solutions are available. City Council members suffer from the same evasion syndrome.
    In investigative reporting, conventional wisdom says, “follow the money.” The only money the press has followed are some alleged improper expenditures for meals and how much the executive director’s compensation is, neither of which would pay for even a fraction of the maintenance and operation shortfall that plagues the Housing Authority.”
    Richmond Council Member, Tom Butt. 3-7-2014

    The press has followed the money. It is clear that the biggest apologists for Richmond Housing Authority Director Tim Jones has been Mayor McLaughlin, Council Member, Tom Butt and City Manager, Bill Lindsay. Tim Jones should have been fired at the onset of this tragedy and now it is beginning to look like Housing Authority’s Maintenance Director Debra Holter and her husband might be headed for prison.
    Richmond residents must realize that a city government that condones corruption will remain corrupt. When corrupt Human Resource Director Leslie Knight was allowed to retire with full benefits and a glowing letter of recognition for her great work it was a red flag that corruption in Richmond is alive and well. Our City Council continues to turn a blind eye to this criminal behavior and they should all be held accountable in November. Enough is enough! Fire Bill Lindsay and Tim Jones!
    Charles T. Smith
    Richmond resident
  • commented 2014-07-24 10:36:12 -0700
    Why am I not surprised?
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