Thomas M. Zuniga, executive director of the D.C. Housing Finance Agency, has paid back $2,500 in personal expenses charged to his agency credit card, and the agency's board of directors is "satisfied" with this restitution, Board Chairwoman Theresa L. Watson announced yesterday.
"There are things I overlooked and I have made full restitution for any personal items I incurred," Zuniga said after the announcement at the board's annual meeting.
The HFA board, which has come under attack recently by the D.C. City Council for its decisions and policies, also wrestled yesterday with the allegations that Zuniga had used an American Express card issued in his name for personal expenses, charged airline tickets for his children to the agency and authorized payment of agency funds without proper documentation.
Council members are unlikely to be satisfied with the board's conclusion. Council member Charlene Drew Jarvis (D-Ward 4), chairwoman of the Housing and Economic Development Committee, was described by one person familiar with the committee as "incensed" with the decision.
Some council members believe Zuniga should have been fired for using agency funds for personal expenses, rather than simply allowed to reimburse the agency, this source said.
"For the City Council, the matter is not closed," Jarvis said. She has requested a separate audit of the HFA by D.C. Auditor Otis Troupe and said she wants to see the result of the audit before recommending any committee action.
The embattled board decided to hold most of its annual meeting this year in a 2 1/2-hour "executive session" out of public view. It then spent half an hour in a carefully scripted public session, unanimously approving several decisions with little or no discussion.
At the end, Watson read a three-sentence statement about Zuniga that had been composed in the executive session.
"To the extent that any personal expenses of approximately $2,500 were incurred by Mr. Zuniga against the agency's credit card, those expenses have been quantified by the agency's auditor, Arthur Andersen and Company, and full reimbursement has been made by Mr. Zuniga," the statement said.
"The board has not asked for Mr. Zuniga's resignation, and Mr. Zuniga has not submitted his resignation to the board of directors."
The council, expressing its strong dissatisfaction with the HFA Wednesday, temporarily stripped the agency of its primary function of approving mortgage revenue bonds.