The former executive director of the D.C. Housing Finance Agency charged more than $9,000 in "inappropriate" expenses to the agency in addition to the $2,500 in personal expenses he was forced to repay earlier this year, D.C. Auditor Otis H. Troupe said in a report released yesterday.
Thomas M. Zuniga, who resigned in January after questions were raised about his use of an agency credit card, should be required to reimburse the agency for the $9,232 in expenses that Troupe questioned, the report said.
Troupe said his review revealed that Zuniga obtained an agency American Express card for his use without approval of the agency's board of directors and that there were "poor internal controls" over his expenditures.
The FBI has been conducting a separate investigation of Zuniga's agency's expenses, sources have said.
Zuniga could not be reached for comment yesterday.
The quasi-independent city agency, which was created six years ago to help provide financing for low- and moderate-income housing by issuing tax-exempt bonds, had its powers curtailed by the City Council earlier this year after council members expressed dissatisfaction with the agency's direction. Six members of the agency's board resigned in protest of the council's actions.
City Council member Charlene Drew Jarvis (D-Ward 4), who became interim chairman of the agency's board after leading the fight to revamp the agency, said yesterday that the current board may be bound by the previous board's decision that required Zuniga to reimburse the agency for $2,500 in expenses.
She said Troupe's audit does not reveal any additional expenses by Zuniga but reaches a different conclusion on what was permissible. The previous board based its decision on an audit of Zuniga's expenses by the accounting firm of Arthur Andersen & Co.
Jarvis said she has directed the agency's staff to prepare new expense guidelines for board approval to guard against any possible future misuse of agency funds.
William Kao, the agency's acting executive director, said yesterday that the auditor incorrectly used city rules that do not apply to the agency to challenge the additional $9,000 in Zuniga expenses.
Kao said the $9,000 in expenses questioned by the auditor -- more than $6,000 for food and entertainment -- was business-related and permitted under the agency's rules.
The auditor also criticized the agency for failing to require Zuniga to adequately document his expenses, including the filing of reports detailing the purpose of the expenses.