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Southern Nevada housing authority board member accused of fraud

Updated May 9, 2019 - 10:47 am

A Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority board member engaged in “possible abuse of power, fraud, and embezzlement” of the agency’s housing choice voucher program, according to an internal report released by Executive Director Chad Williams on Wednesday night.

The allegations follow a nine-month housing authority investigation into Commissioner Theresa Davis, a voucher program recipient and one of North Las Vegas’ two appointed representatives on the nine-member board.

“At best, Commissioner Theresa Davis’ actions might be classified as unethical,” the report said. “However, without a doubt, her actions clearly could be seen as fraudulent, and constitute a waste of taxpayer dollars.”

The report’s publication comes less than two months after the housing authority board voted to hire an outside human resources firm to investigate at least one employee complaint made against Williams. A copy of the 70-page report — including 58 pages of supporting documents — has been sent to North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

On Thursday morning Davis said she was never questioned by investigators or made aware she was under investigation. She declined further comment until after she had read the internal report.

“I am going to be requesting those documents myself,” she said.

In an email, Williams declined to comment.

“At this time we believe the narrative in this public report to the City of North Las Vegas regarding its appointee, Resident Commissioner (Theresa) Davis, represents any and all statements from SNRHA on this matter,” he wrote.

The report accuses Davis of manipulating information on her housing choice voucher paperwork from September to April. She has been a voucher recipient since November 2007, according to the report.

Housing choice vouchers, a subsidy formerly known as Section 8, help more than 11,000 low-income families in Clark County lease privately owned homes. The housing authority pays part of each tenant’s rent, with the amount paid varying depending on the recipient’s household income.

The report alleges Davis manipulated her reported household size and income “to obtain a rental unit with the optimum number of bedrooms with her paying the lowest shared portion of the rent.”

Specifically, the report documents fluctuating income from Davis’ husband — from whom she has since reportedly separated — and her 18-year-old daughter moving out of the house, back in and out again within nine months.

The report also accuses Davis of negotiating illegal side payments to her landlord, intimidating staff members to stop them from investigating her actions and bullying other employees so she could “cherry pick” staff members who determined her household size and income. Employees who might have aided Davis are also under investigation, according to the report.

The report also accuses Davis of causing harm, damage and embarrassment to staff members during the investigation to remove them from the housing authority. No specific examples were given in the report, but Davis is one of two commissioners who told the Review-Journal last month that the housing authority hired a human resources firm to investigate Williams.

Williams sent the report to Lee on Wednesday. In a one-page letter accompanying the document, Williams wrote he was referring the findings to HUD’s Office of Inspector General for potential criminal investigation and prosecution.

“The staff of the Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority is not a law enforcement entity and therefore can’t make any legal judgments or decisions on this matter,” Williams wrote. “However, we believe the facts and evidence are so clearly disturbing that we are compelled to bring this to your attention.”

On Wednesday night, Lee said he had not yet seen the report. He added that he will turn it over to city attorney Micaela Moore to review and present to the City Council.

“As mayor I would take this report very seriously,” Lee said.

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

Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority Report by Las Vegas Review-Journal on Scribd

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