OHA settles out of court with whistle-blower
The Board of Commissioners of the Housing Authority of the City of Orange voted to settle a whistle-blower claim out of court on Tuesday, April 21.
The claim was asserted by ex-executive director, Tanya Wilson, according to a press release from the OHA.
“The core of Ms. Wilson’s claims was her alleged contact with representatives of the regional office of the United States Department of Housing & Urban Development and the Office of Inspector General as housing developments that were being undertaken by the Housing Authority of the City of Orange and other matters arising during the prior administration at the housing authority,” the release read. “Neither HUD or OIG have challenged the housing developments now underway by the housing authority, and HUD has approved three housing development projects in Orange and another project is pending HUD approval in West Orange.”
Terms of the settlement agreement were approved including an agreement that the former executive director would not seek future employment with the Housing Authority of the City of Orange.
The settlement will be paid with non-federal funds, generated through the new housing properties, according to LaNita Brown, current housing authority executive director.
Brown stated that “both the board of commissioners and the staff at the housing authority are committed to improving housing and are deeply appreciative for the allocation of over $17 million in Community Development Block Grant- Disaster Recovery funds through the South East Texas Regional Planning Commission, which together with the sales of tax credits enabled the housing authority to demolish three aged, dilapidated apartment properties and rebuild three new apartment properties.
Brown further stated the housing authority wants to fulfill their mission to provide safe, affordable and decent housing to citizens in and around Orange.
The housing authority is currently near completion of the Willow Bend Apartments on Sikes Road in Orange. They are also moving forward with the continued development of Velma Jeter Manor on Allie Payne Road in Orange and Park Avenue Manor on the site of the former Pine Grove Apartments on Park Street.
The board of commissioners of the OHA issued a request for proposals and obtained the services of ITEX Developers for the development of the new housing properties in 2009. Among these was a redevelopment of the James Zay Roberts Apartments on Burton Street in 2012.
Additionally, a project is under development at the site of the Whispering Oaks Apartments in West Orange which is planned to go under construction in mid-2015.
Photo – Willow Bend Apartments on Sikes Road in Orange is nearly complete. The Housing Authority of the City of Orange voted to settle a whistle-blower’s claim out of court on Tuesday, April 21.