He Was Charged With Fraud. The City of Dallas Hired Him Anyway.

Four years ago, a midlevel manager in the city of Dallas housing department helped steer more than $800,000 in federal funds to a friend who owned a construction company. The friend’s job: to rebuild eight run-down houses for low-income residents.The project was a mess. The homes were riddled with defects and built up to 18 months behind schedule. Among the problems: missing gutters, faulty electric circuits, gaps between cabinets, and a home hanging over the edge of its foundation.After The Dallas Morning News exposed the problem last year, the feds weighed in with a scathing 24-page audit. They told the city to hire someone else to make sure the houses were structurally sound.So how did the city respond? It hired an engineer who had been charged with fraud, lost his engineering license and filed for bankruptcy, The News has found.Documents show the city agreed to pay $15,400 to ADI Engineering, a small Dallas firm owned by engineer Donatus I. Anyanwu, to inspect the homes.Anyanwu referred questions to his attorney, who told The News he would not comment.In response to questions from The News in June, the city launched an internal investigation to determine how ADI was allowed to bid for the job. City officials notified the mayor and council members of the probe in a memo on Friday and said the process for selecting a firm was “not correctly followed.”The city also pledged to hire a new firm to redo the inspections and improve screening of prospective contractors.The hiring of the firm is the latest misstep in a city department that has a history of being sloppy with taxpayer funds intended to solve one of Dallas’ most pressing problems -- providing housing that’s affordable for low-income and working-class families.Just last month, for example, federal auditors said the department mismanaged $6.6 million on a series of low-income housing projects. The city acknowledged room for improvement but also disputed some of the findings.For the homeowners, the gaffe with ADI Engineering means waiting even longer to fix the work botched by the original builder. And two owners have died without the chance to enjoy their finished homes.  Continue reading...

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