RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - After 12 Investigates first told you about the RRHA taking residents to a casino, we found out that the federal government is now looking into the incident.
We've learned the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is scheduling a trip to Richmond to review records. A HUD spokesperson tells us the agency was already planning a review of the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority because of the casino incident, when the government shutdown stopped its trip.
"We'd heard about it and it was one of the thing that was being reviewed," said HUD spokesperson Jerry Brown.
NBC12 obtained an email to RRHA CEO Adrienne Goolsby. It zeroes in on "questionable transactions" in Creighton Court's tenant council funds. The email points to a bus trip to Charlestown West Virginia to the Hollywood Casino on May 5 of 2012. According to a letter from the Newton Bus Company, the trip was for 55 passengers and it cost the RRHA $1,515. The invoices were signed by current RRHA Commissioner Marilyn Olds.
In a letter from its lawyer, Michelle Waller, the RRHA acknowledged the trip and said it was funded with HUD money. The agency says an audit concluded, while the use of these funds was "inappropriate" and "unfortunate" it did not violate HUD regulations and "no pattern of abuse existed."
HUD spokesperson Jerry Brown would not comment on the trip until the review is completed. He says it will be comprehensive. "It's going to go back, not only to look at this specific issue, but to see if there are other issues here," said Brown.
He says HUD will also be reviewing its guidelines to make sure they are clear. "To see if our guidelines are where they should be to actually ensure people don't do things that shouldn't be done. To see where their policies are and see where this fits within their policies and if their policies need to be tightened up."
He says the agency is trying to make sure every tax dollar is accounted for. "It's just extremely important we make sure that we're utilizing the dollar to do things that need to be done," said Brown.
Brown added that the review will be scheduled in the next few weeks and is public record so we will be able to report back to you the findings.