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Mayor feels city to be cleared in HUD audit

Ironton Mayor Bob Cleary told city council members Thursday he feels "comfortable" the city will be cleared of any infractions outlined in a U.

Friday, February 09, 2001

Ironton Mayor Bob Cleary told city council members Thursday he feels "comfortable" the city will be cleared of any infractions outlined in a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) audit.

According to the audit, the city may have to pay back more than $269,000 for misusing Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds.

After receiving an anonymous complaint alleging the city misused the CDBG funds, HUD officials embarked on a 14-month audit, which included an examination of paperwork dating back to 1992.

Cleary told council he and Ralph Kline, community director for the Community Action Organization, met with HUD officials in Columbus on Monday to discuss the audit. He said, at the most, he feels the city will have to pay back only a small portion of the money.

He also said the findings are inflated in some cases. For example, he said a $10,000 improvement project could have a $20 baseboard missing, but the audit shows the city has to pay back the entire $10,000.

"I think we have just about cleared it up," Cleary said of the audit.

Councilman Hugh Scott said the city still needs to be able to show the funds were spent properly or it could have to repay the entire amount. Given the city’s current budget woes, he said taking a $269,000 hit could be detrimental.