Thursday, December 22, 2016

No Criminal Violation By Ex-Housing Authority Executive Director For Scoring $375K Housing Loan From Agency While Acting In Official Capacity, But Finds Himself In Ethical Hot Water Anyway For Allegedly Creating Appearance Of Impropriety

In Lauderhill, Florida, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports:
  • The International City/County Management Association has censured Assistant City Manager Kennie Hobbs for taking a housing loan from the Lauderhill Housing Authority while he was its executive director.

    While the Broward State Attorney's Office found no criminal violation by Hobbs, the ICMA said that obtaining the 2014 loan was inappropriate and created the appearance he used his position for personal gain.

    The ICMA's executive board also said Hobbs should not have had employees under him compiling his financial records and completing loan worksheets on his behalf.

    The Broward Inspector General's Office in October concluded that Hobbs and city operations manager Julie Saunders had violated state ethics laws by accepting loans and forwarded its findings to the Florida Commission on Ethics.

    Hobbs said he could not comment on the ICMA action because the ethics commission is still reviewing the allegations.

    Hobbs received a $375,000 loan in 2014. The loans were available to any city employee, but the inspector general's investigation said his was the largest. It also said the loans for Hobbs and Saunders were the only ones to receive the program's lowest 6 percent interest rate.

    The ICMA's mission is to create excellence in local governance and it provides training and professional development to more than 10,000 officials at the local level worldwide. Fort Lauderdale City Manager Lee Feldman currently serves as the organization's president.

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