KTVU: Richmond police investigate housing authority maintenance manager

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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