NOVEMBER 02, 2006
A top candidate in the New York Attorney General race is campaigning with claims that he eliminated waste and fraud as the nation’s housing secretary when in fact the agency was infested with corruption that ended up costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.
Bill Clinton’s secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development is the top Democratic candidate for New York Attorney General and he has campaigned with less than accurate facts. Andrew Cuomo says he drastically reduced waste and fraud as HUD secretary, but a scathing newspaper articletells a much different story.
During Cuomo’s tenure, inept and corrupt investors cheated loan programs aimed at turning rundown buildings into affordable housing, leaving taxpayers with a $250 million cleanup bill. Records show that Cuomo had been warned for years about the problem yet he took no action.
One warning was issued by the Inspector General of HUD, which documented the problems in writing and sent them to Cuomo just after he became head of the agency in 1997.
A few years later a Congressional investigative report reiterated the warnings and criticized housing officials for not fixing the scandal-ridden loan program like they had previously agreed.
The federal government wound up covering $120 million in defaulted mortgages nationwide and an additional $130 million to repair the buildings in the city. Cuomo left office in 2001 and, although Congressional hearings were held on his negligence and mismanagement, the scandal was overshadowed by the terrorist attacks.
Now Cuomo wants to be New York’s chief legal officer, the person who defends and protects the state’s citizens.
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