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 Wednesday, April 23, the 113th day of 2014. There are 252 days left in the year.
1864 — 150 years ago: Some persons are negotiating for 80 feet of ground on Illinois Street with a view of erecting four stores thereon. It would serve a better purpose if the money was invested in neat tenement houses. 1889 — 125 years ago: The Central station, car house and stables of the Moline-Rock Island Horse Railway line of the Holmes syndicate, together with 15 cars and 42 head of horses, were destroyed by fire. The loss was at $15,000. 1914 — 100 years ago: Vera Cruz, Mexico, after a day and night of resistance to American forces, gradually ceased opposition. The American forces took complete control of the city. 1939 — 75 years ago: Dr. R. Bruce Collins was reelected for a second term as president of the Lower Rock Island County Tuberculosis Association. 1964 — 50 years ago: Work is scheduled to begin this summer on construction of a new men's residence complex and an addition to the dining facilities at Westerlin Hall at Augustana College. 1989 — 25 years ago: Special Olympics competitors were triple winners at Rock Island High School Saturday. The participants vanquished the rain that fell during the competition, and some won their events; but most important, they triumphed over their own disabilities.