Austinites Lobbying for Municipal Accountability A.L.M.A.

More Questions

  • Federal Stimulus Funds;
  • Other Local & Federal Subsidies;
  • Public Health & Safety
  • Has the City of Austin violated the Public Trust?
  • Has the City of Austin used bait-and-switch tactics re. its Housing / Energy Programs?
  • Have Federal Criminal Statutes been violated with regard to forgery, misapplication of Federal funds, Fraud, Waste and Mismanagement?
Re. FEDERAL STIMULUS FUNDS:  How can authorities and their vendors who have misused or abused these Federal / Local Funds be trusted with more of these funds (We're not opposed to these funds being applied, but we are opposed to the funds being given to the same entities when previous accountability questions remain unresolved.)

What It Means To YOU: click

TODO Austin August 2010 pg 5:
Where's the Money? 
That's (Still) the Question.
By Katie Walsh 
Fill Out Our Questionnaire


2010 National Gray Panthers 40th Anniversary Action - Fight Government Corruption

City Accountability to Citizens Questioned

NOKOA - THE OBSERVER : May 07, 2009


FRAUD QUESTIONS: Chambers Family Nightmare - UnAccounted Federal Funds:

(click to go to Chambers' actual webpage)



  • AHFC (Austin Housing Finance Corporation) held Ms. Chambers liable for Federal Loan Funds that AHFC NEVER turned loose of from its OWN escrow account. 
  • AHFC did NOT release even a dime toward the Chambers' home. 
  • The City of Austin kept the federal funds; yet required Ms. Chambers to abide by the terms of the loan as if funds were disbursed and her home rehabilitated. 
  • In fact:  the City of Austin went so far as to create loan servicing documents that suggested the Chambers' home was completed; funds disbursed; and that Chambers was 'repaying' the loan per the terms of the contract.
  • In fact:  the City of Austin enforced the terms of repayment of this so-called (non) 'loan' by imposing a lien with Power of Sale against the Chambers Property for 6.5 years.
  • As part of the loan terms:
    • Under threat of foreclosure the City of Austin required that Ms. Chambers and her toddler reside in the home for 6.5 years, in spite of the fact that the City had knowledge that the home was a Fire Hazard and was severely contaminated with hazardous waste as a result of the City of Austin's Contractor's actions.
    • City of Austin prohibited Ms. Chambers from selling, renting or refinancing her home (thereby prohibiting her from pulling equity out to repair the damages caused to her home by the City of Austin and its contractor).
  • The fact is: 
    • AHFC kept its Federal grant money;
    • the City of Austin abandoned the Chambers project,
    • The City of Austin NEVER rehabbed the Chambers Home (but rather destroyed it and abandoned it, leaving it to dilapidate for years); and
    • The City of Austin NEVER disbursed the federal grant funds from its own AHFC escrow account toward the Chambers home. 



  • WHAT status did the City of Austin actually report the Chambers Project to the Federal Government? (i.e. completed?; abandoned?; delayed?)
  • WHY do loan servicing records reflect that funds were applied to the Chambers Project, when in fact not even a dime was released from the AHFC escrow account?
  • WHY do loan servicing documents (managed by 2 separate companies) reflect differing activity on the same loan?
  • Since the City of Austin alleges that their records reflect to have 'rehabbed' the Chambers Project (per Assistant City Manager David Lurie's written words), then
    • WHERE are the Certificates of Completions; the Client surveys; the Close-Out Reports; etc for Chambers Project?
  • WHY did AHFC hold Ms. Chambers to the terms of loan repayment for funds that AHFC NEVER turned loose of?  
    • WHERE did that Federal Grant Money really go?  
    • WHAT did AHFC really do with those funds?
    • HOW is this any different and any less criminal than a bank manufacturing documents as if it released funds to a client when indeed it did not and instead kept the funds for itself?
  • Show us the paperwork.  Show us what AHFC reported to the Federal Government.
  • HOW does the City of Austin explain the FORGERY of Ms. Chambers' signature on a CoA contract document?
  • HOW does the City of Austin explain alleging to have passed inspection on electrical work that actually posed a fire hazard
    • HOW does the City of Austin (AHFC; NHCD) justify demanding payment for 'work' that was not done or was done shoddily?
  • WHY won't the City of Austin answer our questions? -- The Silence is deafening and makes a profound statement in and of itself.
  • WHY haven't Public Officials answered our questions of Forgery, Fraud, Un-accounted for Federal Funds and other possible criminal allegations per requirements of Title 18 USC? 

 QUESTIONS: OTHER Housing Program Clients:  

(click to view a sampling of other grievances)

The City & County continued to award contracts to the same contractor:
  • who was found via a court ruling summary judgment to be in breach of contract for abandonment;
  • who billed for 'work' that was either not done or not done to code; and
  • who alleged that electric 'work' had passed inspection, when in fact it was a fire hazard.
  • WHY did the City of Austin and Travis County continue to award this contractor additional Home 'Rehabilitation' contracts for approximately another 10 years?
  • WAS the Health & Safety of additional homeowners; families; clients of the City of Austin & Travis County home 'rehabilitation' programs compromised as a result, like the Health & Safety of the Chambers Family was?
A court settlement was recently concluded (March 2009) regarding a contract between the same contractor and Travis County involving a Senior Citizen's home in May 2006:
In May 2006, this same CoA / TC contractor (who damaged the Chambers home) allegedly caused extensive water damage to a senior citizen's home via Travis County's 'affordable' housing 'rehab' program. 
  • The homeowner, who was 89 years old at the time, was allegedly consequently displaced from her home for 14 months as a result of the alleged damages caused by the CoA / TC contractor.  
  • The Homeowner was 91 before she could move back home as a result of the alleged damages caused by the CoA / TC contractor. 
  • A couple weeks after the initial damages (May 2006), apparently, Travis County Commissioners Court nonetheless awarded this same contractor another contract for the same type of work, regardless.
  • Considering the extensive documentation that Ms. Chambers had previously and persistently presented to the City of Austin, regarding this contractor's substandard 'workmanship': 
    • WHY did the City of Austin and Travis County continue to award this contractor additional contracts for an additional decade? 
    • HOW many other homes and lives were put in Harm's Way?
    • SHOULDN'T the extensive damages caused to the Senior Citizen's home in May 2006 have been avoided IF CoA & Travis County had taken heed & enforced accountability against this contractor in the first place? and
    • COULDN'T Travis County taxpayers therefore have saved money by avoiding the subsequent jury trial which later ensued against this Travis County / City of Austin contractor?
The same municipal employees who managed the Chambers Family project still manage these programs.
  • HOW many more families have or will be affected by their (mis)management?
  • WHAT will the City of Austin and Travis County do NOW to assure the Health and Safety of ALL these previous home 'rehabilitation' program clients/
The same entity(ies) that (mis)managed the previous housing programs plan to create and implement new programs.
  • WHY put the same people in charge with our money when they have yet to answer to pre-existing questions of Fiduciary & Fiscal Accountability; and questions of Criminal Nature?
  • SHOULDN’T the concerns from the previous projects be reconciled before new funds/new programs distract from the pre-existing questions of mis/mal/nonfeasance?
  • SHOULDN’T the "leak" be fixed before the "new sink" goes in"?
The City enforced the terms of a “loan” as if the project were completed & funds disbursed; yet in actuality, the project was abandoned and no $ was disbursed.
  • WHAT was the status reported to the Federal Government regarding the Chambers Family CoA home 'rehabilitation' project reported to the Federal Government?
  • WHERE did the Federal funds in the AHFC escrow account and earmarked for the Chambers' project really go?
  • WHY did AHFC (Austin Housing Finance Corporation) hold the Chambers Family liable for “loan” Funds that AHFC never relinquished to the Chambers project? (no Funds were applied to their home. No funds were disbursed from the AHFC account).
  • WHY do different loan servicing documents contradict the loan activity for the Chambers project?
  • HAS The City accurately recorded project survey reports?
  • ARE performance profiles/scores for contractors & participating jurisdictions accurate?
  • IS the status of a failed project recorded IF the contract is dissolved? OR is it as if it never existed?
  • CAN dissolving such a contract artificially inflate a City’s & Contractor’sperformance score profile?
The City can foreclose IF the program participant fails to fulfill the residence requirement (requirement sometimes spans 10 years).
  • DOES the City get to foreclosure on families’ homes IF a client becomes deceased, moves into a convalescent home, or their home either burns down or succumbs to natural disaster in let's say the 9th year of their loan term?  Program participants are often Senior Citizens.
The City can foreclose IF their home is not maintained to code.
  • HOW can a client fulfill their responsibility IF the City's contractor performed substandard work in the first place; AND the city passed inspection on it anyway?
  • WHY have our public officials not responded? - particularly if Title 18 U.S. code mandates it?


___________________________________________________________________ QUESTIONS: HUD Group Complaint:

(click to go to HUD Group Complaint actual webpage)

Q:  DID City of Austin inspectors pass code-item work that was actually in violation of code?

Q:   WHY do the City of Austin officials appear to be unconcerned by the apparent misrepresentations of some of its widely used contractors; its representatives of Austin Housing Finance Corporation and Austin Neighborhood Housing and Community Development? 

Q:  WHY do City of Austin Officials appear unconcerned about the potential compromised Health and Safety of 100's of previous housing clients? 

Q:  IS the City of Austin applying more than one loan; and additional Federal Tax dollars more than once to the same project, in order to cover-up the City of Austin's deficiencies from the intitial project?  In other words, is one federally-funded loan program (LeadSmart) covering up the lack of oversight from another City of Austin federally funded loan program (Single Family Loan Program) -- Twice the Federal tax dollars going half the distance of what the Public commited them for?.

Q:  Duplication & Waste: 

ARE the costs of these 'Repeat' jobs being passed on to the HomeOwners, the taxpayers, other nonprofits and more than once to the Federal Government?

Q:  HAS the City of Austin mis-reported the status of failed & abandoned projects to the HUD and the Federal Government?  Has the City of Austin reported any incompleted projects as 'completed successes'?

Q:  HAVE the contracts accociated with failed projects typically been dissolved; rather than reported?

  • If so, DOES a dissolved contract nullify a participating jurisdiction's requirement to report the status of the project?
  • DOES this practice artificially inflate the City of Austin and its contractors' performance profile scores, and thereby produce a false progress/accomplishment report?

Q:  HOW do these apparent bait-and-switch tactics by our Public Officials apply to Consumer Protection laws and the Home Lemon Law (click)  -- (click) HB3182 proposed by Representative Senfronia Thompson? 
Q:  ARE Consumers being victimized by the misuse of our own tax dollars via questionably-managed HUD housing programs?

QUESTIONS: What it Means to YOU:

As of today (2009), some of the same CoA inspectors, project managers and other public officials, who either:
  • alleged to have passed inspection on the electric 'work' that was later discovered to be a fire hazard; or who
  • apparently turned a blind eye with regard to:
    • the same contractor's violations;
    • lead-based paint interim controls and the subsequent contamination of a client(s)' home(s) --
These same public officials continue to oversee new projects and new housing & redevelopment programs that are currently in the works today.
  • HOW many other homes and lives have been / or will be put in Harm's Way?
  • HOW many other families have been / or will be victims of the apparent arbitrary / capricious pass/fail practices of City of Austin's Inspection Department? 
  • With regard to the City Council's recent ordinance approval of the City of Austin's Point of Sale Energy Audits, HOW will these apparent practices of selective code enforcement / interpretation affect future HomeOwners who wish to sell their homes?
  • WHAT will the City of Austin and Travis County do NOW in order to safeguard the Civil Liberties; and the Health & Safety of its former and future clients and HomeOwners?
IF pre-existing issues/questions regarding fiduciary, fiscal & criminal allegations (i.e. forgery, un-accounted for federal funds) remain unresolved with regard to the City of Austin; and IF additional subsidies are given to the same entities who mismanaged previous programs,
THEN, We ask the following questions:
  • COULD these new programs (in the absence of genuine accountability of previous subsidies / previous programs) be misused by those in charge, potentially enhancing further displacement of additional families; homeOwners; and small businesses
  • WHY should the Public entrust additional tax money to the same people / entities when previous questions regarding previous programs remain unresolved?
  • WHAT WILL the City of Austin and Travis County do NOW to demonstrate its commitment to the Public and to genuine Accountability [for example: will CoA / TC refer our questions, which involve allegations that are criminal in nature (i.e. forgery and un-accounted for Federal Housing funds) to the U.S. Attorney]? 

B.  Are Federal Tax Dollars Suppressing Local Un-Accountability?:
  • As a matter of practice, DOES the City of Austin use Federal grant funds from one program (i.e. LeadSmart) to cleanup / cover-up the deficiencies (including possible criminal actions) from another one of its Federally-subsidized programs (i.e. HUD's Single Family Loan Program) -- twice the federal subsidies for a fraction of their intended commitment? ....
  • (Of course, another question is whether official decisions might be used in order to apply a portion from the new Federal Stimulus Funds for the same purpose; or in a similar matter.)
Are Local Tax Dollars Suppressing Local Corruption?:
A protracted situation persisted for over a decade, altering the family's lives and livelihoods and transforming the original $17K 'rehabilitation' cost into a repair nightmare that was last bid for over $86K.  Early on, in 1996/'97, the City of Austin estimated the subsequent repair costs from the City Contractor's abandonment at approximately $38K.  In July 1997, the homeowner offered to settle damages for $25K.  Instead, over the course of the next decade, the City of Austin City Council authorized no less than $177K in taxpayer money to hire private legal counsel in order to suppress the client's legal claims / suppress the City's questionable practices.
Likewise, in 2008 the City of Austin exercised a similar tactic when it hired private outside legal counsel to tell Austin Voters what to vote for with regard to Domain Subsidies / Proposition II.
  • WHY did City Council and the Mayor use voter's tax dollars to propagandize an election topic and tell voters what to vote on? 
  • WHY does the Austin City City Council authorize so much local tax money to apparently evade paying a fraction of the cost it would originally have taken to heed Public Interests?  What do they have to hide?


Based on the information received and reviewed by A.L.M.A. and other organizations; and in the interest of the City of Austin's previous Homestead Preservation Initiatives:

  • (contrary to advertisement) WAS the City's objective to remove targeted people from targeted redevelopment areas?
    • If so, was the 'people-removal' a 'success'?
  • OR WAS the City of Austin's objective to retain and enhance affordability for existing and incoming residents (as advertised)?
    • If so, ISN'T IT TIME for a serious systemic review?

Serious questions about the City of Austin's practices remain unresolved and involve possible violation of Federal Criminal Statutes for example:

  • What will Travis County and the City of Austin officials do NOW to address these concerns about possible systemic abuse?


What It Means to YOU:

Lead Paint Dust Contamination Results 1999

Breach of Contract for Abandonment of CoA Project -- Court Ruling Summary Judgement

AHFC Homebuilder/Contractor Registration Requirements (section 3, Parts B & F; Section 7, numbers 2, 4, 7, 8 & 9)

Judge's Consideration for Referral to District Attorney re. Possible Misrepresentation by CoA & Contractor's Atty

Supporting Testimony - Possible Fraud; Un-Accounted for Federal Fund$; Patterns/Practices

3 Letters to Austin City Manager Marc Ott

Attendant attachments/documentation

Fill Out Our Questionnaire

Some Abuses happen incrementally,
Robbing a Community of its ability to witness
One Clear Moment as to where and when to draw the line.
White Collar Crime:
 Takes Lives.
Mass Serial...
Do NOT be Charmed.
'Sophistication' is NOT 'Credibility'.
...Still, Abuse of Power epitomizes Pre-Meditated & Mass Serial.
We MUST insist on Accountability.


Copyright 2003, Austinites Lobbying for Municipal Accountability (A.L.M.A.)

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