GHURA chairman: agency has nothing to hide - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

GHURA chairman: agency has nothing to hide

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The Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority has nothing to hide, according to the board chairman who along with GHURA management are preparing not only for an oversight hearing on Wednesday but a visit by federal officials as well.

"First off, most of those items on that report have been resolved," said GHURA board chairman David Sablan, referring to a recent report issued by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development's Departmental Enforcement Center. No mention was made of the report at the GHURA board meeting today but expected to be discussed during an oversight hearing Wednesday called on by Senator Tina Muna Barnes. "Some of them are dating back several years if not longer maybe one of them is dates back 10 years ago, and that has to do with funding allegedly that HUD gave us to build a new office facility," he added.

The DEC report recommends the authority repay back $1.4 million out of $1.7 million GHURA received to construct a new building. Only $300,000 was spent for the building that never was constructed. "So they never really gave it to us for a office facility, it's an accumulation of funding that have accumulated to about $2 million, and it's there for use now specifically for anything related to public housing," Sablan stated.

Sablan says if HUD wants it returned, GHURA would oblige to that request. As for the repayment of nearly $600,000 in legal fees and housing funds paid to GHURA's former legal counsel who was determined to have violated conflicts of interest rules, Sablan says that between HUD and the former legal counsel. "And GHURA has no responsibility thereafter Mr. Smith left us," he added.

Along with the repayment, the HUD report also recommended changes to the current board including replacing commissioners entirely to avoid any future conflicts. "That's rather an interesting recommendation by the DEC," said Sablan. "We'll just talk to Mr. Wu about that I kind of chuckle about that because I don't see any basis for them to make that kind of recommendation. Sure, they brought up that issues of possible conflicts of interest, but we've resolved it."

Not only will these issues be discussed with lawmakers, but most likely be brought up when acting HUD regional public housing director Edward Moses and Honolulu Field Office director Jesse Wu come to Guam on Wednesday. "So that's what we're hoping to discuss with Mr. Wu when we see him tomorrow; he asked that to discuss that as well. But we don't find that extraordinary or out of the ordinary because this happens regularly with HUD," he said.

The oversight hearing is scheduled for June 10 at 4pm at the Guam Legislature Public Hearing Room.

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