(Orange, Texas)

May 11, 2013

OHA under investigation

Dawn Burleigh
The Orange Leader

ORANGE — The Orange Housing Authority is under investigation - again or is it still?

The board was under scrutiny in 2011 when HUD labeled the organization as ‘troubled’. The status was to cause the Orange Housing Authority to receive additional review and oversight in an effort to bring it back into compliance and performing within established guidelines. The Executive Director of that time, Frank Anderson was terminated,  according to past articles in The Orange Leader.

The Orange City Council appoints members to the board which is not a city department. The board is responsible for hiring the Executive Director. The housing authority operates under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Executive Director Tanya Wilson was fired by the board During the March 8, 2013 meeting.

Lanita Brown is now acting Executive Director. Brown was Deputy Executive Director under Wilson.

Wilson wrote a letter  February 13, 2013 to the city and federal housing officials stating “I am deeply concerned with the direction of the Orange City Housing Authority is currently heading.”

The letter also states “I believe there may have been improper spending on behalf of the Authority.”

Wilson also stated in the letter the need to ‘immediately employ a specialized audit firm to conduct a forensic audit’.

Mary McKenna, chairperson for the Orange Housing Authority, responded to the letter by asking for specific documentation of the problems with the board and questioned the need for a forensic audit.

Charles E. Grassley of the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary has raised concerns as he has investigated questionable spending at public housing authorities, is now asking for an investigation into the practices of the Orange Housing Authority.

Wilson is now suing the board. Anthony Jackson, in 2011, also filed suit for the release/return of all personal items from his office after he was terminated.

The Orange Housing Authority meets at 4:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month at 516 Burton in Orange.