Published January 19, 2016
WINDOW ROCK—The Navajo Housing Authority is planning to fight a ruling that would allow the federal government to take back $96 million in housing funds because NHA failed to meet deadlines to spend it.
This is a legal battle that has been going on for more than two years after officials for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development became concerned that NHA was keeping hundreds of millions of dollars in HUD funds in the bank without making any plans to use it.
In December, Alexander Fernandez, an administrative law judge, issued a ruling that would allow HUD to get back $96 million of those funds because NHA failed to follow through with it spending plans for the 2012 Indian housing plan.
Aneva Yazzie, the CEO of NHA, admitted in 2014 that NHA was having problems in appropriating the housing funds because of a number of problems, which included problems in getting land withdrawn to implement NHA’s housing plans and a governmental freeze on spending when a former CEO Chester Carl, was indicted by a federal grand jury for taking bribes from a contractor.
Carl was found innocent by a federal grand jury and by the end of 2014, most of the other problems had been resolved and Yazzie announced that a wide-range of housing projects would be undertaken in 2015.
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the Navajo Times. Used with permission. All rights reserved.