St. Louis Public Radio News
5:37 pm
Wed June 24, 2009

Montee releases audit of Mo. Housing Development Commission

Jefferson City, MO – One day after State Treasurer Clint Zweifel proposed reforms for the Missouri Housing Development Commission, an audit released today claims various incidents of conflicts of interest at the agency.

In her report, State Auditor Susan Montee says the standard of conduct at the MHDC tolerates financial relationships between developers and commission members and staff.

She cites an example where the commission solicited $42,000 in contributions to help pay for two conferences it hosted.

"They solicited contributions for the expenses associated with those conferences from the actual developers who were receiving projects...so clearly (there was) a conflict of interest," Montee said.

The audit also cites low morale among MHDC workers.

"We had a significant number of the employees complain about just the general atmosphere, the way they were treated, the perceived unfairness, and just in general that it was a really bad place to work," Montee said.

In a written response, Missouri Housing Development Commission officials say they strive to provide both a professional culture and a positive work atmosphere. But they also say they'll train their managers on how to develop positive communication and working relations.

And MHDC officials say they're in the process of developing revisions to their standards of conduct policy.