Sunday, March 1, 2015

In Their Own Words:
The OHA Lies Their Way Through A Reporter's Questions

On January 18, 2015, the Standard Examiner published an article about the Ogden Housing Authority's termination of my housing assistance contract with HUD and the displacement of my tenants.

Although they declined to publicly state the reason for terminating my contract in the article, the Ogden Housing Authority's official position for the termination, is because I failed to correct deficiencies relating to exterior paint, in the time they had allotted me.  

However, the real reason (which they disclosed to a number of my tenants), is because, "they were sick of the documentation I was posting about them, on this Blog"... and other online sites, showing that the Ogden Housing Authority has a history of making significant departures from HUD-Program Rules and Requirements in their dealings with Kier Property Management, which ultimately cost me a lot of money.

Obviously, It would be problematic for the Ogden Housing Authority to admit to terminating my contract over documentation I had published online, that could get them into trouble with HUD, so they labeled the reason as, failure to correct deficiencies, but when the facts are weighed against the contradictory statements they made on the subject, it's clear that the Ogden Housing Authority never wanted those corrections to be made, and they did everything they could to make sure that they weren't.


Statements the Ogden Housing Authority made about the termination of my HUD contract

When asked by the reporter, why they were terminating my contract, the Ogden Housing Authority declined to answer, beyond stating that it was for "good reasons". IF that were the case, why not publicly state what that reason is and remove all doubt? ... Unless there was some other reason that you couldn't make public.

It's hard to know what the Ogden Housing Authority actually considers to be a "good reason", but for them to uproot 11-families in the middle of winter and force them to move out of the homes they love, they must have thought they had some pretty good ones....but when asked repeatedly, they wouldn't even tell the tenants what the reason was.

The Ogden Housing Authority's "official" reasoning behind my contract termination, is because I failed to correct some paint related deficiencies along the roofline of the building's exterior, in the time that they had allotted me to correct them.

The concern was that the paint could potentially contain lead

In 1910, when my building was constructed, all house paint contained lead. In fact, prior to it being banned in 1978, every building in the country was painted with paint that contained lead. In Ogden's Historic District, where my building is located, finding a structure that does not contain some degree of lead based paint, would be very unlikely. Going by HUD guidelines, that would make Ogden's Historic District a veritable hot bed of lead and widely unlivable by HUD Standards, yet HUD has made no such declaration about Ogden, or about any other city in America.

HUD's position on lead based paint is that, as it deteriorates and loses adhesion to the surface it was applied to, it leaves behind a layer of dust that contains lead. In higher concentrations, lead exposure can put some people at risk for a variety of health problems, particularly pregnant women and children under 6-years of age. That is not to say that it WILL cause health problems, just that it could.  In the case of deteriorating lead based paint, the higher the degree of deterioration, the higher the potential for lead exposure is.  

To put things into perspective, my building measures just over 17,000 square feet.  
The areas of deteriorating paint measures around 50 square feet.  
That comes out to 0.294 % or less than 1/3 of 1 %

If 1/3 of 1% of deteriorated paint poses such a dire health threat, then why hasn't the U. S. Government declared that every city in America, established before 1978 is a toxic lead hazard that is unfit for people to live in?  Most homes in America built before 1960 contain heavily leaded paint. According to a 2011 study, 87% of homes built before 1940 contain lead paint and there is a 69% chance that if you live in a home that was built between 1940 and 1960, it contains lead paint. Those statistics account for more than 90% of the homes in Ogden's Historic District, but people still live in those homes.

Further limiting their ability to use the term, "health threat" as a viable 'good reason', is the fact that in May 2014, the Ogden Housing Authority stopped paying the rent and utilities on all of my units that had pregnant women or children under six living in them, which are the people in the highest risk groups for lead. The Ogden Housing Authority did not move those families out of the building to protect their health. In fact, they expressly forbid me from asking them to move out and required them to continue paying their portion of the rent.  If the health risk was so great, why would they allow families in the highest risk groups to continue living in the building?

The Peery Apartments is the best kept and cleanest of all the building's in Ogden on the same HUD program. We go well out of our way to ensure that there are no drugs or other crimes taking place on or around the property. We do not rent to felons and our standards are significantly higher than the city's Good Landlord Program requires them to be. We encourage our tenants to get jobs and we help them find jobs if they ask us. We offer our tenants amenities that none of the other buildings on the same HUD program offer, and we make sure that our tenants are in compliance with program rules and requirements at all times, in stark contrast to the  way the building was previously managed and the way others are still managed today, which explains why we routinely have applicants tell us that they are afraid to live in any of the other Mod-Rehab buildings in Ogden, and why our tenants feel safe there

It's hard to believe that HUD would terminate the assistance contract at one of the best managed and best kept properties in the city, over needing some extra time to do a little bit of paint repair. It would be easier to believe that the reason the Ogden Housing Authority terminated our assistance contract was because it was just too expensive and they were looking for a way out. It would be even easier to believe that they terminated my contract because of the documentation I have posted online about them... which is what they told my tenants.  

The Ogden Housing Authority has been aware of the deteriorated paint issue at my building for years. In fact, they sat back and watched while the damage occurred,  through the neglect of the building by my former management company.  It's hard to imagine why the Ogden Housing Authority failed to cite the damage when it occurred, or why after 8-years, it suddenly became such a dire matter that they were compelled to terminate my contract rather than allow me the time I needed, to make the repairs when I was able to.

Ogden Housing's statement that they work closely with owners to correct deficiencies, couldn't be further from the truth and is in stark contrast to what the actual facts are.

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It's anyone's guess, what the Ogden Housing Authority defines as working with an owner, but in  January 2014, immediately after my building failed the HQS Inspection, I contacted the Ogden Housing Authority, in writing, on two separate occasions, with serious questions, but they couldn't even bother to respond to me. Not that I was surprised by it. The Ogden Housing Authority habitually fails to respond to serious inquiries.

I finally had to have my manager corner the OHA inspector when she came out to the building and hand deliver my letter personally. Perhaps my standards are too high, but when an agency you do business with, repeatedly fails to respond and you have to hand deliver your correspondence just to ensure it was received, I don't consider that to be, "working with an owner"

In January 2014, after the paint deficiencies were cited, I began to investigate what would be required to make the repairs. I was advised by several painting contractors that in order to achieve proper adhesion to the substrate, the paint must only be applied when outdoor temperatures are consistently above 50 degrees, information that I also verified with a number of paint manufacturers.

Because January temperatures in Utah are consistently below 50 degrees, I asked Ogden Housing for more time to complete the repairs, and they granted me a 60-day extension, which still placed the date for completion at a time of year when temperatures are largely below 50.

At the same time, the Ogden Housing Authority stopped paying the rent and utilities on three of my units, until the repairs were completed and forbid me from asking those  tenants to move out. The loss of income from those units was $2,500 per month.

I contacted Anita Short at HUD, who in turn, contacted the Ogden Housing Authority, who lied and told HUD that they were not abating any of my units.

The Ogden Housing Authority also started preventing me from re-renting my vacant units and refused to send us new applicant referrals, causing three more units to stand vacant, at a loss of an additional $2,500 per month.

I contacted the Ogden Housing Authority and informed them that the money the building generated in rents each month, was my only source of income and that cutting my income off would make it impossible for me to make the repairs, but that didn't bother them in the least.

Unaware, or couldn't be bothered?
After several failed attempts at resolving the matter with Ogden Housing directly, I contacted HUD's Denver Field Office who quickly recognized that without income, I would not be able to make the corrections. HUD offered to contact Ogden Housing to help get   the issue resolved, and get back to me.

Initially, the Ogden Housing Authority lied and told HUD that they were not preventing me from renting my vacancies, but after providing HUD with copies of emails from the OHA showing that they were lying, HUD addressed the matter with them.

Weeks passed while I waited to hear back from HUD and after making a follow-up call, I received an email from Ogden Housing telling me that they had addressed my concerns with HUD, but forgot  to let me know what the outcome was.  (right

HUD asked the Ogden Housing Authority to stop preventing me from re-renting my vacant units and to start sending us referrals again, for families that did not have pregnant women or children under 6 years of age in the household, so I could start generating some income again and make the repairs.

By the time the Ogden Housing Authority began sending us referrals again, 5-months had passed and I had lost over $25,000 in rents.
well over the amount needed to make the repairs.

Ogden Housing was undoubtedly annoyed with the fact that I had gone over their heads to HUD. and immediately after that resolution was reached and Ogden Housing could no longer prevent me from renting my vacant units, I received a City Code Enforcement violation in the mail, that included a hefty, weekly fine, until the damage was repaired.  The Citation was issued in response to a complaint they had received. Not surprisingly, the complaint was about the same damage that the Ogden Housing Authority had stopped paying the rent over. It wasn't very difficult to figure out who filed that complaint.

The Ogden Housing Authority then required me to have a Lead Based Paint-Risk Assessment done,  by a State certified inspector, to determine if lead based paint was present. The inspection was costly and served no other purpose than to cause me additional expense, since the Ogden Housing Authority had already made a determination weeks earlier, that the building had lead paint.

For the assessment, I was required to use a State certified firm, that specializes in lead based paint, selected from a list that is maintained by the Utah EPA, but I quickly found that most of the firms on the list had no idea what a lead based paint risk assessment was, or why their firm appeared on the EPA's list.

Because I was having difficulty finding an inspector, and the time I was allotted to have the inspection completed was nearing an end, the Ogden Housing Authority suggested that I let them help me find an inspector,  and they quickly secured one for me.

The findings of the inspection were questionable at best, with the inspector stating that most often, when a positive result was obtained, he would re-test the same area just a few inches away and obtain a negative reading. When I questioned the inspector's qualifications and the accuracy of the testing materials, the inspector quickly sent a revised report to me...  then another...  and another.

In total, I received 3-revised inspection reports, each one different from the last. The most suspect of his findings, were the positive readings the inspector obtained from the back stairwell railings.

Lead based paint was banned in this country in 1978, but after providing the inspector with a photograph of the back of the building, that was taken during the 1987 rehabilitation of the property, showing the back stair railings in their natural wood state, he became defensive and had no explanation for the clearly erroneous readings he obtained... I've got a few theories

Most suspect of all, is the fact that when I asked the inspector how much his firm would charge to do the work he recommended in his inspection report, he told me that his company doesn't do that kind of work.

Let's review...

The Ogden Housing Authority secured an inspector for me, who couldn't obtain consistent test results, from a  State certified lead based paint firm that doesn't do lead based paint related work?  

The Ogden Housing Authority routinely fails to respond to owner contact and has to have correspondence hand delivered to them to ensure they have received it.    
If that's what the Ogden Housing Authority calls 'working closely with an owner'
I'd hate to see them working against one.

The Ogden Housing Authority tries to paint a picture of themselves as being a kind,  compassionate and caring agency, whose sole purpose on earth is to watch over and protect their clients, while helping owners in need of assistance, overcome any obstacles that come their way, so they can all march off together, hand in hand, into the sunset.... WHAT A CROCK OF...$#!%!!!

It would be unfair of me to say that the Ogden Housing Authority was being less than truthful in their statement on extending the time necessary to make repairs in extenuating circumstances, but only because that would be a monumental understatement.

In truth, the Ogden Housing Authority was so desperate to terminate my contract with HUD, that after looking the other way for as many as 8 years for Kier Management, who caused the damage my contract was terminated over, they forced my tenants out of their homes and off of the program they were on, and onto a program that is dramatically underfunded, according to this Tweet sent out by the HUD Denver Office.

Initially, I asked Ogden Housing to allow me until the end of summer to complete the repairs, because some unexpected expenses had left me without the funds needed to make them at that time. Although I had previously advised them that the painting couldn't even be started until outdoor temperatures were consistently above 50 degrees, the Ogden Housing Authority denied my request and gave me until April 16, to make the repairs, when temperatures were still largely below 50.

The damage to the paint occured under the former management company's watch, sometime between 2005 and 2009. The damage is no worse today, than it was in 2009 when I took over the management, which says that for at least the last 5-years, the Ogden Housing Authority had no problem with allowing tenants to live in the building, yet suddenly repairing the damage became so dire, that they felt compelled to terminate my contract and displace tenants who have been living in the building for as long as 30 years, rather than allow me a few more months to make the repairs when I was financially able to?
Does that make sense to anyone?

Because my finances at the time prevented me from being able to make the repairs and The Ogden Housing Authority would not compromise on time, they asked HUD for some guidance. HUD referred me to some programs, designed to help property owners with the cost of repairs, through low interest loans and grants, but after spending several weeks gathering the required documentation and submitting the applications, I found out that one program only offers tax credits instead of real time financing, and the other program was closed.

By then, it was too late...the damage was done.  Seven months of the Ogden Housing Authority preventing me from renting my vacant units combined with them not paying the rent on several others, made it impossible for me to recover financially and make the repairs in time... which, if you've read this far, was apparently their goal.


I question what the Ogden Housing Authority considers to be a show of good intentions.  I routinely kept them updated on my progress, when there were updates to give. I complied with their directive to have a risk assessment inspection and allowed them to secure the inspector for it, yet the fact that we  had corrected the other deficiencies cited, well before the deadline, totally escaped their notice. Why? Because you can't terminate a contract for making repairs, so completed corrections did not fit their agenda. 

In the end, the only one who apparently came out on top
was the Ogden Housing Authority, who cut $40,000 off their annual budget while still housing the same number of people.
HUD will probably give them all bonuses for that 

In the article, the Ogden Housing Authority tried to sound heroic, by coming to the rescue with "Protection Vouchers" for my tenants, but that's only half of the story. What they didn't say, was that the Protection Voucher doesn't really protect the tenants at all. Instead what the voucher does, is require my tenants to take on additional expenses that they cannot afford. It also forced them to leave the HUD-Program they were on, and give up benifits that they are entitled to under their contract with Ogden Housing.

My building, was on HUD's Moderate Rehabilitation Program, which gives low to no-income families the ability to obtain housing they can afford, by requiring them to pay minimal security deposits,  offering rents based on 30% of their income, and covering the cost of their utilities in the rent. The Protection Vouchers my tenants received, require them to pay full security deposits and the cost of their own utilities. 

My tenants are poor and on limited incomes. They didn't ask to take on these expenses, but they were not given a choice. When my tenants told the Ogden Housing Authority that they couldn't afford to move, Ogden Housing came to the rescue again and offered to pay their security deposits for them.  Then they told the tenants that it would only be a loan, and they would have to pay the money back in installments.  Add that to the cost of paying their moving expenses and the Ogden Housing Authority doesn't sound very heroic at all.

My tenants did not ask to lose their homes and be displaced. In fact, they told Ogden Housing that they wanted to stay right where they were. Ironically, when the Ogden Housing Authority sent them a list of apartment complexes to choose from and neglected to remove my building as one of the choices, they all picked my building as the place they wanted to live, but the Ogden Housing Authority wouldn't allow it.

The Ogden Housing Authority told my tenants to go out and find other housing. What they didn't do,  is consider the fact that many of these income restricted people have no credit or bad credit, which would prevent them from qualifying for a lease at another property, or for utility accounts. They also never considered that it was the middle of winter and many of my tenants do not have cars to go out apartment hunting.

My tenants had a contract with the Ogden Housing Authority to participate in the Moderate Rehabilitation Program. They followed the rules and didn't do anything to be removed from the Program, and they are entitled to continue receiving the same benifits.  The Ogden Housing Authority was also aware of this, so to address it, they held a meeting with my tenants and made it sound like they were the luckiest people on earth, who had just hit the jackpot, because they were getting Vouchers. Then one by one, they were all taken into separate rooms and pressured into agreeing to leave the Mod-Rehab Program and give up the benifits it offered, in exchange for receiving a Voucher that did not provide those same benefits.


The Ogden Housing Authority never offered to help my tenants use their vouchers, or to help them with anything else for that matter. They couldn't even be bothered checking in with them to find out if they had made any progress, or if they were having any problems finding housing... and there were problems. Many had bad credit issues that prevented them from qualifying for a lease at another property, while others didn't have any credit at all and had the same problem.  
On the day my contract terminated and the Ogden Housing Authority stopped paying the rent and utilities, there were still 5-families living in the building who had not been able to find other housing and had no place to go. it was another month before everyone had found a place and moved out.

I got stuck covering over $9,000 in rents and utility bills in February, for the tenants who had not yet found a place to move to, and the Ogden Housing Authority couldn't have cared less. In fact, they planned it that way.

They can try to justify it, or cover it up, any way they want, but the fact is, that the Ogden Housing Authority made it very clear to my tenants, that if they did not accept their offer of a housing voucher and leave the Mod-Rehab Program, they would be dropped from the housing assistance program all together.  

The Ogden Housing Authority purposely misled my tenants into believing that they had 60 days to move out of my building, when they really had just 23, hoping that once the contract terminated, I would be forced to evict any remaining tenants for non-payment of the rent. This attempt at turning the tenants against me, was obviously done intentionally and maliciously, because when I brought it to the attention of the Ogden Housing Authority, they couldn't even bother to contact the tenants and clarify themselves.

 On January 31, 2015, the day my contract was terminated by the Ogden Housing Authority, there were still 5-families living in my building, who had not yet found other housing to move to. Evidently. the Ogden Housing Authority expected me to just kick them to the curb... just like they did.

By now, it should be fairly obvious to anyone reading this blog, that the Ogden Housing Authority's reason for terminating my contract was questionable at best, and was more likely in retaliation over the information I had posted on the internet about their corruption and misconduct, which led them to order me to correct deficiencies that had previously existed for as many as 9-years, and do everything in their power to cut off my income, to ensure that I could not comply with their orders, so they could terminate my contract. 
  That's the REAL 
Ogden Housing Authority