The El Paso Tribune - El Paso Texas Political Commentary
Date: June 9, 2003

HUD Office of Public Housing in Ft. Worth Finds No Basis to Substantiate Allegations Against HACEP

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Office of Public Housing in Ft. Worth, Texas has formally notified the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso, Texas (HACEP), that it found no basis to substantiate the allegations of improper activities by the Housing Authority.  The Office of Public Housing has forwarded their review to the HUD Office of the Inspector General for final disposition.  The allegations were filed with HUD OIG.  The Housing Authority believes the allegations were raised by a very small group of disgruntled current and former employees and two or three residents as part of an unfounded orchestrated attack on the Housing Authority.

Beginning in late February, anonymous letters began circulating through public housing complexes, and to various staff and targeted employees.  These letters raised a variety of unsubstantiated and unsupportable allegations of improper conduct on the part of HACEP, its President and CEO Rudolf Montiel P.E., and its Chairman of the Board Charles Garcia. HACEP immediately forwarded the copies of these letters to the Ft Worth Regional Office of HUD and launched an investigation into the allegations.  HUD  Office of Public Housing simultaneously received these letters from the authors and initiated review case number HL-03-0672.

In April, the letters and comments began to appear on a local website chat room.  The letters and comments no longer pertained only to the allegations being investigated by HUD, but became vicious personal attacks on the Chairman of the Board, the President and CEO and several administrative level personnel.  Most of the comments were derogatory, odious, insulting, and outright lies intended to harm the integrity and professionalism of the President and CEO, the Board of Commissioners and the administrative level employees who were under attack.  The communications became so outrageous that the President and CEO received letters that included threats to his safety.  The intentions of the anonymous authors were clearly stated in their work -- they intended to influence the new mayor to make dramatic change at the top of the HACEP organization.

The Housing Authority is pleased that the HUD Office of Public Housing has found no basis to support any allegation of wrongdoing or improper conduct.   The Housing Authority’s own investigation found no wrongdoing and only revealed that it was being disparaged without reason by this small group.

The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso, Texas is proud of its recognized success and the difference it has made in the El Paso community. HACEP’s Public Housing section was recently ranked as the highest large Housing Authority in the nation and its Section 8 activities were rated again in the “High Performer” category.  HACEP is financially sound despite recent cutbacks in federal funding and it continues to work towards achieving its mission of providing self-sufficiency with the goal of achieving home ownership.  It is through the guidance of the Chairman of the Board and the Board of Commissioners, the leadership of the President and CEO and the dedication of the proud HACEP employees that the HACEP as achieved so many great accomplishments.  HACEP looks forward to working closely with the new administration to help the City of El Paso and its elected officials achieve their vision for this great city.

Al Velarde, HACEP PIO

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