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Southern Nevada housing authority board member losing aid, possibly seat

The Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority plans to strip one of its commissioners of her housing assistance at the end of July, a move that would also unseat her from the agency’s board.

The decision follows a 10-month fraud investigation into Commissioner Theresa Davis. The 54-year-old “resident commissioner” represents North Las Vegas as one of four housing assistance recipients on the the nine-member board.

From 2013 through 2018, Davis falsely reported that she and her family did not have access to any checking or savings accounts, according to investigatory documents released Tuesday evening by housing authority Executive Director Chad Williams. Instead, the investigation found Davis had access to 29 bank accounts under her name, the names of family members and her nonprofit Brand New Horizon.

The banking information was required to determine Davis’s eligibility for a housing choice voucher, a program that provides rental subsidies to low-income families based on their household income. Davis has been a voucher recipient since November 2007, according to previously released documents.

Housing authority staff notified Davis on July 1 that her housing choice voucher would be terminated at the end of the month for the infractions, according to the documents released Tuesday. That would automatically disqualify her from continuing to serve as a resident commissioner, according to the documents.

Davis did not immediately return a phone call or text message seeking comment. She has an appeal hearing scheduled July 23 and is being represented by an attorney from the nonprofit Nevada Legal Services, according to the documents.

In a phone call Tuesday evening, Williams declined to comment on the investigation.

However, in a letter to North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee dated Tuesday, Williams wrote that housing authority staff members believe former housing authority board members, executive office staff and senior employees at the housing choice voucher department knew Davis failed to report the bank accounts for years.

“We believe that the only reasonable purpose for these actions to be allowed to continue was to provide favoritism to Ms. Davis is return for quid pro decision making actions at the Board of Commissioners level,” he wrote.

The fraud allegations against Davis first became public in May, when Williams released a 70-page report documenting the findings of a nine-month internal investigation into the commissioner. The report’s release came just days after the Review-Journal published an article in which Davis and another commissioner disclosed that the housing authority board had hired an outside human resources firm to investigate an employee’s complaints against Williams.

The previous report accused Davis of “possible abuse of power, fraud, and embezzlement.” Williams sent a copy of it to both Lee and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Tuesday’s release of documents followed additional investigation by the housing authority’s “independent fraud investigator,” according to the documents. The investigator was not named.

William’s letter to Lee states that even if Davis successfully appeals her removal from the housing choice voucher program, she could still lose her seat on the housing authority board. That’s because the board is poised to adopt a new policy at its Thursday meeting that requires resident commissioners remain in good standing in all housing authority programs starting Aug. 1.

Staff removed Davis from the Family Self-Sufficiency program in June for allegedly manipulating her reported household size “for financial gain or theft,” according to Williams’ letter. The decision was upheld by an independent hearing officer this month.

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

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