Rock Island County Board member Phil Banaszek, D-Moline, has charged his Republican opponent Bill Bloom with being a member of "the Moline Housing Authority Board that misappropriated almost $1 million in Federal HUD Funds"
Mr. Bloom said the accusation, contained in a campaign mailer is "slanderous." The mailer was sent to households in Moline that are part of Rock Island County Board District 9.
Mr. Banaszek's charge relates to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development request in early 2012 that the MHA return $985,000 in federal money that HUD alleged had been improperly spent.
The money was part of a $1.2 million grant awarded in 2009, before Mr. Bloom was appointed to the housing authority board in May, 2011. Decisions about how to spend the money also were made before Mr. Bloom was named to the board.
Asked about Mr. Banaszek's mailer, MHA Executive director John Afoun said "He (Mr. Bloom) was not part of this. This thing happened three years ago before he was appointed to the board."
The grant was awarded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, President Obama's economic stimulus bill.
It was supposed to be used for new projects but MHA officials used some of the money for work that had already been approved. The authority believed it was meeting stimulus guidelines to spend the money on "shovel ready" projects, Mr. Afoun said.
Mr. Afoun said he's still fighting HUD's demand that the grant money be returned and has an appeal before HUD secretary Shaun Donovan.
Mr. Banaszek said he stood over the assertion in the mailer.
Mr. Bloom, he said, worked for U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Colona, while he sat on the MHA board, and "As a director for a standing congressman you think he (Mr. Bloom) would have been informed on federal HUD funds being appropriated or misappropriated."
"This compromised, reckless disregard in handling taxpayers dollars cannot be tolerated," Mr. Banaszek's mailer said.
"This is pretty disgusting stuff," Mr. Bloom said of the mailer. "It's a hit job and it's about as low as you go. This is why so many good people stay out of politics."
Mr. Banaszek chairs the county's finance committee and also has announced his intention to run for county board chairman if he's re-elected. The county board will elect a new chairman to replace the outgoing Jim Bohnsack after the November elections.
Today is Friday, Dec. 13, the 347th day of 2013. There are 18 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: Merry sleigh bells jingle in our streets in the wake of a driving northwest storm of snow and rain. 1888 -- 125 years ago: Thomas Campbell was elected commander of John Buford Post 243, Grand Army of the Republic. 1913 -- 100 years ago: Thomas B. Reidy was named consul of C.W. Hawes Camp No. 1550, and L.H. Eihl was named consul of Camp 29, Modern Woodmen of America. 1938 -- 75 years ago: Rock Island aldermen last night upheld the view of a petition signed by 150 businessmen that the city should not install parking meters. 1963 -- 50 years ago: Total volume during the Christmas mailing season may reach 12 million pieces in Rock Island, according to Rock Island Postmaster Carl J.L. Wessel. 1988 -- 25 years ago: The aromas filling the air at the Rock Island Lines depot in Rock Island soon will be prime rib and roast duck rather than sawdust and plaster. A tourist train will be offering dinner excursions in mid-February or early March, according to Dan Carmody, executive director of the Development Association of Rock Island.