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Housing Authority dodges audit

The Burbank Housing Authority avoided a federally mandated audit after the city treasurer caught a misallocation of $1.3 million intended for the authority’s housing assistance program, officials said this week.

The authority provides Section 8 rental housing assistance in the form of 958 vouchers to private landlords for low-income households.

The misallocation of money did not directly affect those vouchers or other subsidies, said Gene Gibson, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

She added that Burbank had avoided the federal audit by quickly addressing the misstep.


“They didn’t do anything illegal; they did something inappropriate,” Gibson said. “They are quickly transferring the money back from the city into that reserve.”

The accounting misstep was caught by City Treasurer Donna Anderson, who noticed a drop in reserve levels for the housing funds, said Ruth Davidson-Guerra, Burbank’s assistant community development director.

“Once we got a grasp on what kind of dollars we were talking about, we contacted HUD proactively,” she said.

The dollars were spent after $507,527 for an Information Technology Department position was erroneously charged to the Housing Authority’s account and $819,877 used for overall administration of the program.


“This was not a result of overstaffing in the Housing Authority or inappropriate expenses,” said Davidson-Guerra. “Quite frankly, the cost to administer the program is more than what HUD provides.”

At City Hall last week, community development officials were unsure about when a federal audit would begin.

“HUD does not plan on any reviews or audits because the city has been forthcoming with the information,” Gibson said.

City officials could not be reached Tuesday for reaction to the news.

The City Council on Tuesday voted to transfer the money.

The Burbank Redevelopment Agency, whose future hangs in the balance depending on Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget proposal, loaned the $1.3 million to the city to reimburse the housing account.