Earlier this morning a reader emailed me about a Notice of Adverse Finding which appeared in the Grand Forks Herald last week regarding a conflict of interest relating to some an affordable housing project in Grand Forks.
Here’s the text of the ad:
Notice of Adverse Finding
Notice is hereby given by the city of Grand Forks that the North Dakota Department of Commerce has made an adverse finding as a result of the 2011 monitoring of the City’s HOME program. Such finding is set forth in a letter dated March 4, 2014 from the North Dakota Department of Commerce to Michael Brown, City of Grand Forks. The adverse finding relates to the conflict of interest due to the renting of a unit in a HOME funded project by Ashley Hoover, the daughter of the Executive Director of the Urban Development Department, Greg Hoover, and an employee with the City’s Urban Development Department. Such conflict of interest determined by the North Dakota Department of Commerce violates 24 CFR Section 92.356(b) and 24 CFR Section 85.36(b)(3).
“It seems odd that no story has followed in the paper,” the reader wrote. That is odd. I searched the Grand Forks Herald website and found no mention of the situation.
I put in an open records request for the letter, and received a prompt response. You can read the letter from North Dakota Department Commerce, and the response from the City of Grand Forks, below.
Apparently Ashley Hoover, the daughter of Executive Director of Urban Development Greg Hoover as well as an employee of his office, was able to rent a unit in the HOME affordable housing project despite the conflict of interest. Greg Hoover apparently signed the paperwork for her enrollment in the program.
As a result of the Commerce Department crying foul, Ashley Hoover has been terminated from employment with the City of Grand Forks and her lease will be terminated at the end of this month.
Her father, Greg Hoover, will apparently stay on the job.
You’d think this sort of nepotism in city government would be news in Grand Forks, especially when it results in the termination of a city employee and most especially when a notice ran in the Herald itself on April 1st, but apparently not.
Here’s the letter from the ND Department of Commerce to Grand Forks Mayor Michael Brown, the response from the City of Grand Forks and a copy of the ad as it appeared in the Herald.