COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. - "Just absolutely no care given to insure things were done correctly."
Collier Clerk of Courts, Dwight Brock, calls the county's Housing Department deficient after his preliminary audit into their program.
"They were just doing whatever they wanted, without any control or guidelines. No internal controls, no processes," Brock continues.
From shoddy work, to double billing, to thousands in invoices when the work wasn't done; Brock has stopped all payments to the contractors in the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. He's not even sure how man thousands have been wasted until the audit of about 70 homes is complete.
Commissioner Fred Coyle says he and others suspected issues in the housing department years ago.
"I made that observation probably three or four years ago, because of the difficulty of administering these complex government programs, if there's any chance for mismanagement it's likely going to be in those programs," Coyle tells WINK News.
But, at the time a majority of commissioners voted against the Clerk being able to audit the county's programs.
Commissioner Tom Henning issued this statement, "This event in the Housing Department could have been avoided if the clerk was not blocked from auditing."
So who's to blame? Is it Marcy Krumbine, the head of the department who resigned last month, or the department as a whole?
Commissioner Jim Coletta says, "I think it's too early to just be able to point a finger at one particular person."
Coletta is hoping to save the Neighborhood Stabilization Program by having it taken over by Habitat for Humanity. He has a meeting scheduled with the organization and HUD. Coletta believes the charity would have no problem doing such, "For every dollar they get in it's worth three to four in the private sector because they have so many volunteers. They have their own program they've been administering for a number of years very successfully."
County Manager Leo Ochs was not available to comment but the County issued a statement saying new management in the Housing Department is committed to making vast improvements in procedures. "Management is taking proactive measures to make sure these issues do not reoccur and will maintain a zero tolerance policy in these regards."
The Neighborhood Stabilization Program has already been approved to receive $3 million more in federal tax dollars in the near future.