Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki says upcoming audits of the Wilmington Housing Partnership (WHP) should clear up questions about unlawful use of city funds.
WHP is a semi-public nonprofit that rebuilds and sells blighted properties. The city took it over earlier this year after an audit revealed the partnership was in financial decline.
Purzycki says the 2017 certified audit shows the financial woes came as a result of mistakes and misjudgments and not by any unlawful actions.
“They put themselves in a bad way financially because they had overextended themselves and then they had some housing projects that they built, those projects went over budget and that’s about the beginning and the end of the whole story, but others want to make a whole lot more of it,” said Purzycki.
Wilmington City Council requested a forensic audit weeks ago to assess the partnership’s use of a $3.4 million loan from JPMorgan Chase paid back by the city. Forensic audits are often used when financial crimes are suspected.
The city auditor said this would not be the best approach as it is more expensive than a regular financial audit.
“Some people want to know where the money went—so called ‘where the money went.’ So we just said, ‘look, we have certified audits right through 2017 we’re going to have audits through 2018 and 2019 done so there won’t be any questions about where the money went,” said Purzycki.
Purzycki says upcoming audits for 2018 and 2019 will each cost the city about $15,000.