CIR: Contra Costa County civil grand jury investigating Richmond Housing Authority

Grand jury offers harsh critique on Richmond Housing Authority
Hacienda housing complex

The Center for Investigative Reporting, which through a series of stories exposed gross mismanagement and neglect at the Richmond Housing Authority, reported Tuesday the RHA is now being investigated by the Contra Costa County civil grand jury.

The 19-member jury is probing RHA documents about tenant complaints among other issues, CIR reported.

The jury chose to look into RHA’s operations following a series of corruption allegations, including a criminal investigation into a maintenance supervisor accused of steering RHA contract money to a vendor linked to her husband.

In May, the Housing Authority was accused of nepotism after the nephew of a top official was paid more than double his salary in overtime and other perks as a public housing maintenance worker.

CIR also reported that the agency’s top officials misspent federal funds, including buying lavish meals on credit cards while ignoring pleas from tenants living in squalid conditions.

RHA Executive Director Tim Jones and City Manager Bill Lindsay have in the past called CIR’s reports sensational and said problems at the agency were old news and being remedied.

In February, however, Jones declared RHA’s most troubled facility, Hacienda, as uninhabitable, and City Council later voted to relocate them. More than 240 days later, some 100 residents continue living in the facility.

Councilmember Tom Butt has said the city has thus far done what it can to prepare for the relocation and is now awaiting funds and direction from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Last year, RHA was one of 44 U.S. public housing agencies of 4,055 to be deemed “troubled.”

Bugs, rodents, mold, ceiling leaks, broken windows and plumbing issues were just some of the documented issues its tenants have dealt with.


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