Tuesday, March 3, 2015

So.... You Don't Think the OHA is Corrupt?

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Facebook message from one of my tenants,
asking for my thoughts on her accepting a loan from the 

Ogden Housing Authority to pay her security deposit.
In their mad rush to terminate my Housing Assistance Contract with HUD and get my building off their books and me off their backs once and for all, the Ogden Housing Authority overlooked some very important factors... MY TENANTS. 

Not to suggest that my tenants are especially important to anyone at the Ogden Housing Authority, but they are important to me, and seeing them get mistreated and taken advantage of, by the people at the Ogden Housing Authority, was particularly disturbing to me.

On January 8, 2015, the Ogden Housing Authority held a meeting with my tenants, during which they were pressured into leaving the assistance program they were currently on, in exchange for receiving Housing Vouchers. In fact, they were told that if they did not accept the voucher, they would be dropped from the program and lose their housing assistance. Put that way, it's a hard offer to refuse.

My tenant's were participants in the HUD-Moderate Rehabilitation Program, which offers very-low to no-income families the ability to obtain housing, by requiring minimal security deposits (as low as $50) and reduced tenant paid rents (also as low as $50/mo). The Program also covers the cost of  the tenant's utilities, which, under the contract, are paid for by the landlord and included in the tenant's lease.  The Housing Vouchers that my tenants were offered, do not provide for any of these.

To address these issues, the Ogden Housing Authority came up with some fairly inappropriate workarounds for my tenants

Sad But True
Note who my tenants turn to for advice when they are confused.
That should tell you a lot about the Ogden Housng Authority
and the relationships they maintain with their clients. 
Security Deposits:
Because my income restricted tenants would now be required to pay the full security deposit at their new housing, they asked the Ogden Housing Authority how they were expected to come up with that money.

In response,  Ogden Housing generously offered to pay their security deposits to get them into other housing... with another Housing Authority's money. A nice enough offer, until they told the tenant's that it would only be a loan which they would have to pay back in installments.  The Ogden Housing Authority also told the tenants that they had a little money to help with their deposits, but they were so ill prepared to address this issue, that they didn't even know how much money they had for it.


I don't work for the Ogden Housing Authority and I have no idea what their books look like, but considering that almost none of my tenants had found other housing on the day my contract was terminated and had to remain in their units for another month or more, I can say with some reasonable certainty, that the Ogden Housing Authority had somewhere in the neighborhood of $9,000 to work with, on top of any other money they had, since they stuck me with the cost of the tenant's rent and utilities for the month of February.

When my tenant's asked how they were supposed to pay for their utilities each month, the Ogden Housing Authority advised them that there were programs to help low income families with the cost of their utilities... but they couldn't guarantee them that assistance.

When my tenants asked them how much time they had to move, the Ogden Housing Authority led them to believe they had 60-days, when they actually had only 23. What they meant to say, was that the vouchers were good for 60-days, but they still had to move out of my building by January 31.  When I notified Ogden Housing that my tenants had gotten the wrong impression from them, they never even bothered to contact the tenant's and clarify themselves.

Obtaining a Lease:
The Ogden Housing Authority never considered the possibility that these low-income families might not have sufficient credit, or have bad credit issues that would prevent them from qualifying for a lease at a non-subsidized property. The Ogden Housing Authority just told them to go out and find other housing and then turned their backs on them.

Tenants Abandoned by OHA:
On January 31,  when the assistance contract ended, more than half of the families had not yet found other housing and had no place to go. The Ogden Housing Authority just abandoned them on my doorstep and expected me to either pay for their rent and utilities, or evict them for not being able to pay the full rent amount... Evict them for being victims of the OHA's corruption? ... I'm not sure that would actually fly in court.

OHA Corruption:
My tenants did not do anything wrong, and yet they are being punished. They had a contract with Ogden Housing to provide them with benefits that they are now being denied. They were forced to move out of the homes they loved and take on additional expenses that they did not ask for and can not afford, for no other reason than to terminate my asistance contract with HUD.

The Ogden Housing Authority doesn't like the fact that in the past, I have filed complaints against them with HUD when I discovered that they had made serious departures from HUD rules, which ultimately cost me a lot of money.

They also don't like the fact that I publish documentation of their indiscretions and misconduct on sites like this blog and on Facebook for everyone else to see. In fact, the Ogden Housing Authority told several of my tenants that the reason they were terminating my assistance contract with HUD, was because the were, 'sick of the things I had posted about them online.'

Sick.... or Afraid of it? 
The Ogden Housing Authority has serious abuse of power issues. In fact, over the last 5-years, we have not had a single tenant move into the buildng who hasn't made the exact comment:
The woman they are referring to, is "Housing Specialist" Robeka Sessions.  When people who have never met, make the same comment about a particular person, there's usually a good reason for it.

My own experiences with Robeka have not been dissimilar. Like my tenants, I also find her to be a rude, arrogant and angry woman, who would likely have trouble doing anything in life, without getting the directions from the HUD Manual first. I also find Robeka to be the most consistent part of the Ogden Housing Authority's inconsistency, inasmuch as she frequently provides wrong information, or information that contradicts information she had previously given me, and what she doesn't know, she either makes up or lies about, (i.e. Telling me for 2-yeas that there was no provision for filing a claim for excessive unit damages

Early on, the Ogden Housing Authority threatened to terminate my contract with HUD, because I was using the same lease that my previous management company had been using for 4-years, which had been disapproved by the OHA.  When I contacted HUD's Denver Field Office on the matter, they told me that they have a serious abuse of power problem, with many housing authorities across the country. In fact, HUD told me that the problem is so wide spread that they can't do anything to stop it.

The Ogden Housing Authority routinely disregards, manipulates, or selectively enforces HUD rules and policy to fit their own needs and agenda, particularly in their dealings with Kier Management, who clearly operates under a completely different set of rules, than what other property owners and managers are required to operate under, with the knowledge (and apparent approval) of the Ogden Housing Authority.

To say that the Ogden Housing Authority is corrupt across the board, would be unfair, because I don't know that they are. I only have knowledge, documentation and evidence of their corruption and misconduct, as it relates to myself, my property, and Kier's mismanagement of it, but generally, where there's smoke, there's fire, and in the case of the Ogden Housing Authority's termination of my contract with HUD, there's a lot of smoke.  

For at least 5-years (and as many as 9-years), the Ogden Housing Authority has permitted tenants to live in my building, under the exact same conditions that they terminated my assistance contract over.  The damage is no worse today, than it was 5-years ago when I took the building over from Kier Management, who, through their neglect and failure to maintain the property as contracted, caused the damage to occur...  but who would cite a buddy for their deficiencies?   

The pictures below were taken on December 1, 2009 and show the dry rot damage that the Ogden Housing Authority terminated my contract with HUD over.  The damage occurred sometime between 2005 and 2009 while the building was in the care of Kier Management. During that time, OHA/HUD Inspectors were at the property at least 29 times that can be confirmed, so there is absolutely no question that Ogden Housing Authority was aware of the damage.... because they sat quietly by and watched it happen and did nothing to address the issue with Kier Management .

The damage is no worse today than it was in 2009, which at that time, was already well outside of HUD's de-minimis or 'trivial' level guidelines.  For the 5-years between 2009 and 2014, the Ogden Housing Authority had no problem allowing tenants to live in the building, or with paying their rent, yet in 2014, making the repairs became such a dire matter for the Ogden Housing Authority, that after 5-8years without so much as a mention, they were suddenly compelled to stop paying the rents and then terminate my assistance contract for not being able to afford the repairs, rather than allowing me a few extra months to make them?  


When the Ogden Housing Authority saw an opportunity to terminate my contract with HUD, they jumped on it like a pack of rabid dogs, first requiring me to make costly repairs that were impossible to make at that time of year, then doing everything in their power to cut off my only source of income, and prevent any future income from coming in, while causing me needless additional expenses, knowing that without income, there would be no possible way for me to make the repairs.

The Ogden Housing Authority was acutely aware of the high cost of making these particular repairs. In fact, they even shared their knowledge of it with my tenants at a January 8, 2015 meeting, going as far as inferring that I didn't want to make the repairs, because of the cost.

For 5-months, the Ogden Housing Authority prevented me from re-renting my vacant units;

For 8-months, they stopped paying the rent on 4-other units, but required me to let the tenants remain living in those units and continue to pay for their utilities and absorb the loss in rent.

They also required me to have the building inspected, by an inspector that they obtained for me, which was both expensive and unnecessary. In fact, the Ogden Housing Authority kept so busy with their plan to terminate my contract, the thought of what to do with my tenants after the fact, apparently never crossed their minds.

For the Ogden Housing Authority to infer that I didn't make the repairs, because I didn't want to spend the money, is not only offensive, it is also untrue.  The reason the repairs were not made, is because the Ogden Housing Authority knowingly cut off my only source of income, so I couldn't make them.... so they could terminate my contract.


The Ogden Housing Authority was so desperate to terminate my contract, they forced my tenants off of the program they were on, and onto a program they don't have enough funding for. Brilliant!  The Tweet below was sent out by HUD's Denver field office on April 9, 2015.  I wonder how long it will take for HUD to revoke the housing vouchers they gave my tenants, leaving them high and dry?

Your Tax Dollars Hard At Work


Please take a moment and use the Twitter Feeds below to tell HUD what you think about the Ogden Housing Authority's mistreatment of these people

HUD-Office of Inspector GeneraL: @HUDOIG       HUD-Denver Field Office: @HUDRockyMtns 
  You can also email HUD's OIG directly at: hotline@hudoig.gov

Remember to reference @Peery_Apts in your Tweet!