Get Gephardt | Stories - Get Gephardt: Man Labors to Return Overpayment to Taxpayer Funded Agency
Wednesday, April 23 2014, 09:23 AM MDT
Get Gephardt: Man Labors to Return Overpayment to Taxpayer Funded Agency
By Matt Gephardt
Produced by Michelle Poe
Edited by Jay Hancock
Photography by Mike Sadowski and Brian Morris

(KUTV) As a landlord, Steve Regan has rented to dozens of people including a man a few years ago who was on government housing assistance. A portion of that man’s rent was paid by the Housing Authority of Salt Lake City.

In October of 2011, Steve's tenant moved out yet, for two months, the Housing Authority continued to send Steve payments adding up to $1056.

“It's not my money. It's taxpayer money," Steve said.

Steve says he called the Housing Authority multiple times to tell them about their mistake and try to repay the money. When calls didn’t get anyone’s attention, he decided to send a certified letter asking that they correct the over payment. Still, Steve says nothing happened.

So, nearly a year after received the overpayment, Steve drove down to the Housing Authority of Salt Lake City office in person. Steve was told he didn’t owe any money back because the debt had been written off.

Get Gephardt began investigating and found that the money Steve owed the Housing Authority is far from the only debt the group has written off. In 2010, the Housing Authority budgeted to write off $99,300 but they actually wrote off nearly double that amount, $182,401. The following year, the Housing Authority raised their estimates and budgeted to write off $112,110 but when all was said and done, they wrote off $227,859 as uncollectable, bad-debt. Included in that quarter-of-a-million dollars is the $1056 that Steve had been desperately trying to repay.

The Housing Authority of Salt Lake City is governed by a board of directors and it is that board which must approve writing off debt. According to the minutes Get Gephardt obtained from several past meetings, the increasing amount of uncollected debt does seem to be concerning to the members. Still, time and time again, the board unanimously voted to write off thousands of dollars.

In an email, Housing Authority Executive Director Bill Nighswonger said they "have made it a practice not to send our landlord debts to a collection agency." That decision is contrary to the Housing Authority’s mandates and federal law which clearly say they must try to collect from overpaid landlords, specifically mentioning using a collection agency.

As for over-paid landlord Steve, Nighswonger said, they "are very sorry,” adding, “Sometimes mistakes are made."

Steve has now repaid the money that didn't belong to him.

The Housing Authority of Salt Lake City gets much of its funding from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Making this story even a little more timely, H.U.D. stands to lose well over a million dollars if congress doesn't act to avoid the so-called sequester by Friday.

(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcast Group) Get Gephardt: Man Labors to Return Overpayment to Taxpayer Funded Agency

News Photos & Videos - Submit Your Photos Here

More Gephardt Stories

Good Question: How did running with bulls tradition begin?
FedEx fined for drug deliveries, back to school prices rise and Utah unemployment drops further
Yellow Page scammers targeted by FTC
Airline fees, Google looks at security flaws and Microsoft announces layoffs
Comcast in damage control, automaker recalls continue and Hersheys instates a price hike
Illegible finger prints stall adoption
Citigroup pays for mortgage crisis, president pushes infrastructure projects and a new Airbus
Good Question: Why does a soccer ball bend?
Disabled woman loses benefits because of prepaid funeral plans
FTC Complaint: Amazon got rich off unauthorized in-app purchases
Woman's vehicle seized by police after bogus police report
McNeil trial witness now allegedly a deceitful contractor
RSL fans towed despite paying to park
Costly colonoscopy following a man's belly ache
Good news for job hunters and celebration cost on the rise
Arizona baseball games blacked out in Utah
Gas prices hit six year high, no guns allowed in Target and Google buys Songza
FTC seeks hundreds of millions from T-Mobile for cramming
FTC: T-Mobile made millions with bogus charges
Women's football league leaves supporters hungry, for cookies
Good Question: "Can you be arrested for not paying a debt?"
Cable company stands up customer thrice
L'Oreal's deceptive advertising, GM recalls additional vehicles and new airline threats
Kleargear ordered to pay $300k to Utah couple
Supreme Court rules against internet television streaming company
What to do when winning doesn't pay
Isolation at work, home prices jump and AT&T/DirecTV merger
Bundling delay costs consumer
Airbag recalls, Americans struggle to save and pushing for paid maternity leave
Good Question: "Why do grads wear square-caps and gowns?"
Smartphone kill switch lowers theft, Google encourages girls to code and Harley Davidson goes electric
Auto-warranty company slow to give refunds in Utah, nationwide
GM recall lawsuit, fed talks interest rates and Amazon reveilles new phone
Luggage lost for more than a year
Home construction slows, Dr. Oz testifies and tech companies target home security
Good Question "What if you leave your mail in the box?"
More GM recalls, PF Chang credit issues and Priceline merges with OpenTable
Soccer hooliganing: Scams target fans
Possible gas price spike, beer makers slow the flow and Hobby Lobby's deceptive advertising practices
Glitch shows Medicaid recipient underpaid
Frequent flier changes, Amazon's aggressive negotiations and Subway strikes deal with Keurig
Lender error leaves man with huge student loans
Utah's small business grade, smart phone wallets and Microsoft boasts games at E3
Fine Print Allows Movers Unlimited Time to Deliver
Milk Prices Rise, Amazon's New Payment Method and Job Growth Numbers
Good Question: Is Throwing Out the First Pitch Hard?
GM Recall, Beastie Boy Lawsuit and Americans Finical Happiness
Jewelry Store Balks on Honoring Promised Warranty
UPS Shipment Destroys Valuable Packed by the UPS Store, Denies Insurance Claim
Airline Profits, New Sam's Club Cards and GM Recall Announcement Coming
Man Out $15,000 after Bank Loses Deposit
Utah Security Company Accused of Deceiving Consumers to Make Sales
Good Question: Is the No Texting and Driving Law Working?
Understanding Yummy, Library of Congress and Reading Like Your Rich
$25,000 Reward Offered for Evidence of Door-to-Door Sales Fraud
Credit Union Preempts Data Breach Issues, Tax Scams Continue and Apple to Buy Beats
Mortgage Company Declares Woman Bankrupt
Postal Service Increases, Apple's Home Platform and Housing Markets Slow Recovery
Good Question: Can Taking Marijuana Legally Out-of-State Get You Busted in Utah?
Do Not Call Rule Breakers, Sprint Fined, Amazon Goes Robotic and Delta's Profits Grow
Advertise with us!


Pay It Forward
Fresh Living
Family Matters
Road Trippin
Hooked On Utah

Advertise with us!