Tuesday 21st May 2019

Southern Illinois Congressman pushes HUD Secretary on Cairo housing ‘corruption’

Southern Illinois Congressman pushes HUD Secretary on Cairo housing ‘corruption’


U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R- Murphysboro, pressed Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson July 13 to deal with what Bost calls the “corruption” in the Alexander County Housing Authority, or ACHA, resulting in decrepit public housing complexes.

On July 11, HUD banned two former ACHA directors, James Wilson and Martha Franklin, from ever working with public housing again. The agency is also seeking to recoup money officials said Wilson and Franklin improperly spent.

Bost said that’s the best HUD can do.

“(HUD) is seeking civil action, which they have in their power,” Bost said. “They said we can’t talk to them about (criminal charges).”

The Office of the Inspector General would make the determination about criminal charges.

“It is my hope that there will be more than just civil actions taken against these people,” Bost said. “(I hope) there will be criminal charges.”

Wilson and Franklin are accused of spending thousands in taxpayer dollars on travel and meals while the people living in Cairo’s public housing complexes basically lived in third world conditions.

The two have told The Southern Illinoisan in the past that they believe they are being unfairly blamed for the problems with the housing complexes. Wilson told the paper this week he expects his side of the story to “come out in the wash.”

Bost said the mismanagement and spending under Wilson and Franklin is corruption, plain and simple.

HUD took over the housing complexes in Cairo in 2016 after locals complained their homes were essentially unlivable.

Bost said it is crucial that someone be held responsible.

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