Growing Calls of Transparency from HHA
One of Houston’s biggest business groups wants all Houston Housing Authority deals stopped until Houston City council approves them.
The Houston Realty Business Coalition, known as HRBC, weighed in after a Dolcefino Consulting investigation revealed these real estate deals are taking millions of dollars off the tax rolls.
“The Houston Housing Authority is abusing taxpayers by removing properties from tax rolls without proper oversight and transparency,” HRBC stated in a press release. “…If continued it will have a long-term negative effect on Houston’s housing market.”
The Houston Realty Business Coalition requests the Houston Housing Authority suspends transactions until they can be presented to Houston City Council.
One example cited by HRBC is the deal to purchase the Circuit Apartments, a new complex next to BBVA stadium. This acquisition would take away 60 million dollars in taxable property from the tax rolls. Every year HISD, Harris County, and the city of Houston combined will lose millions in tax revenue.
“Here’s the bottom line. Some politically powerful folks have figured out they could have a gravy train under the guise of public housing,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “Houston taxpayers are getting fleeced.”
Dolcefino Consulting has been focused on two real estate deals worth more than $70 million on the East End. HHA plans to purchase land near Buffalo Bayou to build low-income housing that is surrounded by contamination. Some of the land being bought is unusable for humans. The controversial East End project, known as 800 Middle Street, will remove another $8.4 million from the tax rolls.
The Houston-based investigative media firm has been exposing the involvement of the fired Chairman of the Housing Authority and the wife of Commissioner Rodney Ellis. Both have been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in several HHA deals. They work for the developers in both East End projects.
One former HHA board member, Phillis Wilson, has confirmed the FBI is now investigating the Houston Housing Authority.
All the members of the Houston Housing Authority are appointed by Mayor Turner. Three board members who questioned the projects were all removed. “The Houston Housing Authority must act with transparency and oversight, ensuring the best interest of the residents they serve”, says the HRBC.