• A $212 charge at the Pinewood Country Club in Munds Park. The "private, member-owned club" boasts an 18-hole golf course.

Those expenses are troubling, especially in these tough economic times. (The purchases, undoubtedly, were subsidized by taxpayers.)

Jereon Brown, the HUD spokesman, says his agency will likely have its Phoenix office take a look at HAMC operations — and potentially make a referral to the Office of the Inspector General.

The housing authority's complex on North Seventh Street
Michael Ratcliff
The housing authority's complex on North Seventh Street

"We're concerned about the proper expenditure of funds," Brown says. "We're concerned that people are getting a roof over their heads, rather than someone dining out too much. We'll definitely take a look at this."

But what might be a bigger problem in the agency's immediate future is its failure to get more stimulus grants.

The first round of stimulus funding will expire in a year. The HAMC had hoped to get two major grants in the second round.

It failed in both attempts.

First was the agency's grant application for $8 million to rehab a hotel on Van Buren and Ninth Avenue as housing for veterans. Despite the work of former councilwoman Peggy Bilsten, the project's consultant, the Arizona Department of Housing recently announced that the project did not qualify for stimulus funding.

According to a letter from the Department of Housing, the errors in the HAMC's proposal were big ones. Projects chosen for grant money were supposed to include the purchase of property that's been foreclosed or abandoned. The housing authority's proposal did not. Projects were supposed to include demolition of a blighted structure. The housing authority's did not.

And buildings being purchased were supposed to be sold for at least one percent below the appraised market value. The HAMC, oddly, had agreed to pay the full appraised price.

The Department of Housing also pointed out that the HAMC had overstated the per-unit value of the project by a staggering 400 percent.

The project, the department concluded, "does not meet either federal or state program requirements."

Second, and even bigger, was a proposal for a $99 million project in South Scottsdale. That, too, was rejected — this time by HUD.

The HAMC's proposal was extremely unusual. The housing authority covers all of Maricopa County except Phoenix and Scottsdale — those municipalities have their own housing authorities. Yet Lingner decided to apply to purchase, rehab, and then resell a condo complex in South Scottsdale.

Once again, his team included all the usual suspects: Arvizu Advertising was to market the project. Michael Huscroft & Associates would do the appraisals. Cherokee Development — the real estate firm with ties to board chairman Richard Cole — would broker the units.

Lingner also brought in two new companies that he'd worked with on the city council. Developer Steve Ellman isn't known for his work on affordable housing, but he was a supporter of Lingner's going back to that first attempted recall. He and Reid Butler, another familiar face at City Hall, were being pitched as the master development team.

For the construction, the HAMC selected SKR Construction. Once again, the firm's principals, Allen and Sean Rice, had contributed to Lingner's council campaigns. Lingner had also used the company for some small rehab jobs around the agency.

HUD, apparently, wasn't impressed by the pitch. It turned down the project, giving its grants to Phoenix, Pima County, and Chicanos Por La Causa instead.

But that might be for the best. Because, as New Times has learned, the HAMC's proposal contains a serious misrepresentation.

HUD asked applicants to show that they were contributing some capital to the project other than the expected stimulus windfall. The HAMC didn't have much to offer, but it did note that it was in line to get $1 million from the Industrial Development Authority of Maricopa County, which issues low-interest bonds for construction projects.

"Doug Lingner, executive director of the Housing Authority of Maricopa County, appeared before the [Industrial Development] Authority and received verbal assurances that they will provide $1 million for the [Scottsdale] endeavor," the proposal notes.

But that simply wasn't true, as even Lingner now admits. (He tells New Times it was an error made due to haste, not deceitful intent.)

Lingner did visit the Industrial Development Authority, as director Tom Manos confirms. But when Lingner was there in March, the minutes show that he was pitching an entirely different property — the hotel for veterans on Van Buren.

And Manos certainly didn't receive an assurance of anything. The minutes say only that Lingner would be getting more information for the authority's board. Manos says that's pretty much how he remembers it.

"There are hard commitments and soft commitments," Manos says. "I would say we're not even close to a soft commitment."

Did Lingner ever say anything about a project in Scottsdale?

"No," Manos said. "I would remember that if he had."

Getting rejected by HUD — twice — has put an already nervous agency on the edge. All those calls from Tillman didn't help, either. Everyone knew that Tania Huff had threatened to expose Lingner's "corruption" — what would that mean for the agency?

Lingner made a move in January that only increased the antsiness.

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13 comments
Marcy
Marcy

""We need to find a way to make housing more affordable to more people.""

Utter nonsense. Housing is already dirt cheap.

What we need to do is find a way to make PEOPLE more responsible.

The reason most people spend decades in public housing is because they've been spending their entire life making poor choices, all at public expense. Stop enabling people.

JJ
JJ

Ellman is up to his neck in the Sheriff's Command Association. I wonder if there is a connection Fenske missed between HAMC and Arpaio's crappy real estate empire? Keep digging, Sarah.

As far as Lingner goes, he will be having some quality times with a HUD OIG agent very soon. Look for charges including Theft of Honest Services and Obstruction.

Bye, Doug.

rick lingner
rick lingner

what goes around comes around , i hope that your brother sees this as well. you never got anything for your dads well so you have to go after the taxes payers money.

Carlos
Carlos

With all of the corruption going on in state, local and federal government this is the best you could come up with? The money he doled to his son and relatives is unethical but it really is just chump change. Why is the government even involved with housing in the first place? The last time I read the constitution there was no amendment guaranteeing the right to free or subsidized housing. I've read several of your articles before Ms. Fenske and this one is not your best work. That's allright we all have bad days. Why not take a look at the billions of dollars the governmnent is funneling nationally and the millions of dollars locally that is being funneled to developers, bankers, the community groups, and many other sundry agencies, quasi-agencies, private public partnerships. etc. That's how you'll win your Pulitzer.

Stacy
Stacy

Many of those guys are contributors to Arapio's campaigns .. check it out.

James Bailey
James Bailey

Sarah, you should follow up on Casa de Paz I & II (formerly the Roeser apartments at 18th St. & Roeser). They've been HORRIBLY mismanaged for over a year now and I'm guessing some shenanigans have been pulled regarding that project. 100s of people have lost their homes, the mgmnt is not fixing or repairing existing resident's apartments (my friend lives with a huge hole in the roof and ceiling due to a malfunctioning Swamp Cooler!) and the whole apartment complex is slated to be demolished with the existing tenants (all Section 8) being evicted with no place to go!!!

This place has in the past been used by religious types to ShowBoat their concern for the poor so I'm guessing there's some one that's also going to profit handsomely by demoslishing them and buildling some new project with stimulus money.

A lot of my band members (including Michael Jackson's uncle) and other musicians are living under Section 8 housing and I'm concerned about their welfare.

Thank you for your reportage!

BTW - I helped start New Times by passing out copies of the first issue(s) during the Vietnam Era.

Me
Me

How can anyone defend what this economic terrorist is doing. Then again this is Maricopa County. These defenders of Lingner are probably the same ones that defend Sheriff You-Know-Who. The guy is a crook. You don't need a personal vendetta to see that!!

TommyC
TommyC

It sure seems odd that some of you readers are trying to make this a 'personal' thing with Ms. Fenske. She wrote a story about something that seems to be a problem by a quasi-governmental agency, funded by taxpayer monies.

From her report it seems to me there needs to be a thorough investigation and resulting action taken.

I don't know the guy in this story. So, it's not personal for me. But it appears he is breaking laws and should be charged for those violations, and removed from office.

Now, how do you make my feelings seem personal?

Roger
Roger

I'm all about saving my taxes but how much money was this about? A really hard read given Fenske goes back and forth over 15 years and talks about everything from his neighborhood activism to he wears Hawaiian shirts instead of suits and she really seems to hate the guy. This is personal with her!

BTW: Don't businesses have to submit bids to do work for government $s? Fenske even says that Lingner wanted to give the brother time to finish his bid.

Fire the kid, hire the Mom (if she's qualified) and get back to work Doug!

Mike
Mike

Who do you have to know to get a job at HAMC? Apparently Doug Lingner! Doug, I think I may be your 4th cousin on your moms side, any chance of you hooking me up with a job? Or perhaps I could do some "volunteer" work.

Bob
Bob

Hey Fenske

It sounds like any employee who photo copies documents right before they get fired, might have know they were deserving of it. I wouldn't trust that kind of employee either. And what did Lingner do to you, it sounds like a personal hatred to bring his personal finances from 20 years ago into it. Some people have hard times...

Hope you always stay flush or some reporter might beat you down...

TommyC
TommyC

"The matter is under investigation, he says."

Sarah, does this sound familiar?

Just like the MCSO shurf, if anyone crosses the guy, they become a target of an investigation.

Just like the MCSO shurf, if he is asked a hard question and any documents are requested, "the matter is under investigation".

Where do you suppose Lingner learned this little trick? I wonder what his relationship with the MCSO shurf has been?

SO MANY parallels can be drawn from your report to those known to have occurred with MCSO.

Spank this bitch, Sarah. He apparently deserves it.

 
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