Stalemate Continues After CFO’s Attempted DCHA Takeover
In late May, District Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi made known his intenton to take over the finances of the District of Columbia Housing Authority by July 1–a punishment of sorts for allowing the Fenty adminsitration to funnel millions of dollars through the authority for dubiously-awarded recreation center contracts. Interim DCHA director Adrianne Todman quickly hit back, saying that her agency was protected by statutes and couldn't just be subsumed into Gandhi's office.
That appears to be where things still stand today. "Nothing," replied DCHA spokeswoman Dena Michaelson, when asked what was happening with the negotiations. "There's a difference of opinion as to whether [Gandhi] can do that," she said, while noting that it was "a friendly conversation."
One finer point of the discussion is that DCHA only gets $25 million in its $300 million budget from the D.C. government; the rest comes from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. Michaelson says that DCHA has no problem with allowing the District to have oversight of its own money, which pays for things like the housing police force and Local Rent Supplement Program. And the Council already has to approve expenditures that exceed $1 million. But when it comes to the other $275 million–that's none of Nat Gandhi's business.