When the Government Is the Slum Lord

At least the private ones aren't subsidized by taxpayers


The Center for Investigative Reporting has an excellent analysis of the absolutely reprehensible housing agency for Richmond, Calif, up in the Oakland area. The Richmond Housing Agency management would be called slum lords if they were private landowners:

The Richmond Housing Authority is running a nearly $7 million deficit and has to repay $2.2 million for past contracting mistakes. The federal government is threatening to take control of the housing authority this year if key financial benchmarks are not met.

In 2012, Richmond failed to collect more than $157,000 in rent from tenants, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's most recent inspection.

As its finances spiraled out of control and residents' basic needs went ignored, the authority spent lavishly, records show.

Its executive director, Tim Jones, charged hundreds of dollars on meals in New York and Washington, including a roughly $400 meal at an upscale midtown Manhattan restaurant where a strip steak with truffle fries runs $41.

The meals cost as much as many public housing tenants pay each month in rent.

Jones' pay also increased about 30 percent over three years as the authority ran up debt.

Amy Julia Harris goes into detail about all the contracting problems, the resident complaints, the frustrations of the federal government over the mismanagement and the defenses by the city's mayor, who would no doubt be calling for the owners head on a plate if these were private apartments and not publicly subsidized housing. Instead it's Barack Obama's fault for spending money on wars and bailing out banks. No, really; if you don't want to read all of Harris' reporting, watch the KQED segment below: