Las Vegas Sun

October 19, 2019

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Southern Nevada Housing Authority seeks to revoke benefits of board member

Carnival AirShip Over Vegas

Steve Marcus

A residential neighborhood is shown in the northwest Las Vegas Valley Thursday, Feb. 7, 2018.

A Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority board member accused of committing fraud and embezzlement to maximize housing benefits could be removed from the board because of her alleged misdoings, the housing authority announced Tuesday.

The authority intends to cut off the housing choice voucher of resident Commissioner Theresa Davis of North Las Vegas effective July 31, a decision that Davis has appealed. An independent hearing officer on July 23 will determine whether to grant her appeal or uphold the board’s decision.

Davis was approved as North Las Vegas’ resident commissioner by the North Las Vegas City Council in December 2013. If she loses her housing authority benefits, she will be automatically disqualified from serving on the board, housing authority Executive Director Chad Williams said in a statement.

The housing authority’s decision comes in response to an internal investigation completed this May, which concluded that Davis misrepresented her family income, withheld information about her bank accounts and failed to obtain employment for the past five years, according to Williams’ statement. Williams believes that Davis acted with the full knowledge and even assistance of past board members and former leadership at the housing authority.

Davis has been participating in the Housing Choice Voucher/Section 8 Program through the Department of Housing and Urban Development since Nov. 9, 2007, according to the results of the internal investigation. The authority receives a limited number of vouchers from the federal government, which subsidize housing for eligible residents so that they pay no more than 30% of their income on rent.

The authority became aware of Davis’ allegedly fraudulent activities in September 2018 after receiving complaints from staff in the federal Family Self-Sufficiency Services Program. Davis was enrolled in the FSS program, which aims to help participants improve their economic security, until June 5, when the Housing Authority dismissed her due to her failure to comply with program requirements.

A call to Davis this afternoon was not returned.

North Las Vegas Chief of Staff Delen Goldberg said the city is reviewing the allegations against its appointed resident commissioner.

“We’re trying to collect the full picture of information,” Goldberg said. “From there, when we have all the facts and findings, we’ll make an informed decision for how to proceed.”

In light of the allegations against Davis, the housing authority plans to adopt a new policy at its meeting Thursday requiring resident commissioners to maintain “good standing in all SNRHA programs,” Williams’ statement says.

When asked whether there would be consequences for housing authority staff members possibly complicit in Davis’ actions, Williams suggested that those who might have aided her are no longer with the authority.

“We are still reviewing the actions of other staff members in the Housing Programs Department as it relates to this matter and other unrelated, possible nefarious actions, such (as) communications between staff and property owners/agents, employee satisfaction and customer service delivered to our (voucher) participants,” Williams wrote in an email.

The review is part of the housing authority’s reorganization under Williams, who joined the agency last June. Williams also recently hired a new director of housing programs with experience “turning around troubled (voucher) operations at different public housing authorities throughout the country,” he wrote.

The new director will start in August.