Feds begin investigation into RRHA after casino trip

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The federal government has begun its investigation into Richmond's public housing agency.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is looking into why the RRHA spent money busing residents to a casino.

HUD employees visited the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority this week. It's in response to the casino trip, but the agency is also trying to make sure there are no other issues.

The casino trip to West Virginia raised eyebrows at HUD.

"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, including a bus trip to Charlestown, West Virginia to the Hollywood Casino on May 5, 2012.  According to a letter from the Newton Bus Company, the trip was for 55 passengers and it cost the RRHA $1,515.

In a letter from its lawyer, 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."

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 the agency is trying to make sure every tax dollar is accounted for. HUD will review RRHA records and spending.

The agency's final report won't be ready for several weeks.

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