The audit recommended the state pay back $666,668 in ineligible costs and provide documentation for another $1.8 million.
The Office of Small Cities-Community Development Block Grant and Technical Services, disagreed with the auditor’s findings on the incomplete properties. In his response, Desai wrote “The projects identified are all associated with failed attempts at redeveloping difficult properties in difficult neighborhoods where the original developer either went out of business in mid-development, or experienced other issues which led to the current condition.” Desai claims the department is “actively working” with the communities to complete the projects.
However, the auditors cite the fact that years have passed since the projects shut down with no further progress made.
“These properties should have been completed within a reasonable timeframe,” the auditor’s responded to Desai’s comments, “or the activities should have been canceled and the funds deobligated and reprogrammed.”