HUD Audit Shows Pine Bluff May Have to Repay Money

HUD Audit Shows Pine Bluff May Have to Repay Money

Audit shows $200,000 in improper spending.

PINE BLUFF, AR -- Each day, hundreds of Pine Bluff neighbors pass by 1101 Main Street and look at it as an abandoned building.  But a few years ago, the city spent more than $50,000 in federal money on it to house HUD's Community Development Program office.

Jerry Young walks by it every day and has never been able to stop in.

"This building here I've not see anything going on here in a while," Young said.

It's one of fourteen examples of improper spending or procedures spelled out in an audit by HUD.  Mayor Debe Hollingsworth, in her sixth month on the job, requested this review.

"I was really shocked," Hollingsworth said.

She said it gives her administrative team a guide as to what's right and what's wrong in city government.  If the city can't find the documents to support the spending, it could be ordered to pay it all back or see a reduction in funding.

"The programs that our federal government provide for our city are extensive, from rehabs to providing new homes," she said.

That could affect folks like Young, who's a disabled vet trying to get on his feet.

"There is a lot of us out here just struggling and it's getting harder.  How do you know if you're going to have a job tomorrow?" he said.

Perhaps a dilapidated building -- that so many people pass up -- will now remind them that getting the help they need could take a little longer.

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