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Housing authority determines board commissioner ineligible to serve

Updated August 12, 2019 - 6:35 pm

The Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority has upheld its decision to strip housing benefits from Commissioner Theresa Davis, making her ineligible to continue serving on the agency’s board.

The decision, announced Monday, follows a monthslong fraud investigation into Davis conducted by housing authority staff. Investigators allege the 54-year-old commissioner did not disclose any of the banking accounts she had access to from 2013 through 2018.

The housing authority used the findings as grounds to cancel Davis’ housing choice voucher. Without the rental subsidy, she no longer can represent North Las Vegas as one of four “resident commissioners” on the housing authority’s nine-member board.

Davis and her attorney, Haley Box, filed a petition Thursday in District Court asking for the decision to be overturned because of insufficient evidence.

“It’s definitely an overreaction,” said Box, an attorney for the nonprofit Nevada Legal Services. “She was given bad advice by her case workers, and (the housing authority is) punishing her for their employees’ inability to do their job correctly.”

Despite the pending appeal from Davis, housing authority Executive Director Chad Williams has asked North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee to prepare to appoint the commissioner’s replacement.

“Your jurisdiction will need to solicit, evaluate, and appoint a new Resident Commissioner who qualifies as an eligible resident to fill this vacant seat,” Williams wrote in an email to Lee on Monday.

The housing authority declared its intent to end Davis’ benefits last month. Hearing officer Laure Raposa upheld the decision after an informal hearing July 23.

Investigators alleged that Davis did not report her access to 29 bank accounts under her name, the names of family members and her nonprofit Brand New Horizon.

Davis and Box testified during the informal hearing that none of the bank accounts had more than$10 in them and the money was not enough to disqualify Davis from the housing choice voucher program. Box said they also testified that two of Davis’ former case workers told her that she did not need to disclose the bank accounts.

But Raposa’s memo stated that Davis was responsible for reporting every account, no matter the amount of money in each. The housing authority also found no evidence to support the commissioner’s claim she was following bad advice.

Investigators have also alleged that Davis fraudulently increased her housing benefits by manipulating her income and family size on her housing choice voucher paperwork. But Raposa’s memo said that those allegations were not the reason the housing authority removed Davis from the housing choice voucher program.

The commissioner’s removal comes as the housing authority board prepares to publicly evaluate the findings of a sexual harassment investigation into its executive director at a public meeting Thursday. Williams has conceded to sending “flirtatious” text messages to his secretary last year but has said the investigation cleared him of sexual harassment.

Davis was one of three commissioners who last month supported a failed vote to fire Williams over the investigation’s outcome. Williams has said that the two other commissioners who voted to fire him — Sanje Sedera and Cheryl Davis — are also under investigation by housing authority staff for “unlawful activity.”

Sedera and Cheryl Davis have denied the accusations, and Williams has yet to release any documents to support the claims.

Contact Michael Scott Davidson at sdavidson@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3861. Follow @davidsonlvrj on Twitter.

SNRHA Letter to John Lee by Las Vegas Review-Journal on Scribd

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