I just found out that the city of San Diego’s Community Development Block Grant program is being audited by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General. The Office of Inspector General is also auditing the Los Angeles Field Office of HUD.

As I reported two weeks ago, the city’s CDBG program, which provides grants that are supposed to be allocated for programs to benefit low- and moderate-income citizens, was the subject of a 2006 audit by HUD. That audit found some serious problems with the CDBG program and recommended a number of sweeping changes.

I called Bill Anderson, the city’s top land-use official, who oversees the city’s CDBG program, and asked him why HUD’s taking such an interest in the city’s CDBG program.

Anderson said the audit that’s being done by HUD’s Inspector General is a completely separate audit to the one that was done in 2006. The Inspector General’s audit was prompted by an anonymous complaint that was filed against San Diego, Anderson said.

“I don’t know if it’s something they do routinely,” Anderson said.

Well, I called Joan Hobbs, HUD’s regional inspector general in charge of auditing San Diego. She said she couldn’t comment on the audit until her staff has concluded their report. So I asked her, in general terms, about the audit process.

Hobbs said HUD routinely audits its local offices and cities to ensure they are meeting the federal criteria for CDBG allocation. They try to audit annually but haven’t been to San Diego “for several years,” she said.

But what about the complaint Anderson mentioned, I asked. Is the San Diego audit routine or was it instigated by a complaint?

Hobbs said she gets complaints and considers them and places them on the annual plan. So, in other words, this is a routine audit that was instigated by a complaint.

Hobbs said her staff (there are two HUD inspectors currently in San Diego) began its audit earlier this month. The inspectors have 60 days to survey San Diego’s CDBG program and see if there’s any cause for concern, she said. If there is cause for concern, she said, they’ll stay on.

WILL CARLESS

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