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 Saturday, March 8, the 67th day of 2014. There are 298 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: The price of board for single gentlemen occupying rooms in Davenport hotels has been raised to $10 per week. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Dr. J.W. Stewart was elected president of the Rock Island County Bible Society. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Mrs. I.O. Nothstein, Rock Island, was named president of the Woman's Home and Foreign Missionary Society of the Twin Cities. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Athel Young, wife of Chic Young, who draws the internationally famous "Blondie" comic strip, has been visiting her mother, Mrs. John Miller, in Rock Island for three weeks. The Youngs' infant son accompanied his mother. 1964 -- 50 years ago: 750 students from 30 northern Illinois high schools will take part in the Class D state finals music contest to be held next Saturday on the Augustana College campus. 1989 -- 25 years ago: A near capacity crowd shook the rafters at Wharton field House in Moline Tuesday night. When the decibel level returned to normal, Alleman's Pioneers had pulled out a 54-49 victory over the Orion Chargers. The win advanced Alleman into the Elite Eight for the first time in 25 years.