A former Department of Housing and Urban Development official accused of colluding with a contractor to file fraudulent expense reports has agreed to pay $19,120 to settle the dispute with the agency.
Albert F. Trevino, 72, a former assistant secretary for policy development, will also be prohibited from doing business with the federal government for two years, according to the settlement agreement. The settlement, reached last week, did not require Trevino, now a private consultant in Laguna Beach, Calif., to admit any wrongdoing.
"He just felt it was important to move beyond this," said Trevino's attorney, Cheryl L. Jones of Jones & Stuart in Washington. "I don't think he's happy about it, but at least it's over with."
A HUD spokesman said he had not seen the settlement and could not immediately comment on it.
HUD had accused Trevino, an appointee of President Bush, of using his government computer to create four false invoices from a fictitious bed-and-breakfast. Trevino, who resigned Sept. 1, gave the invoices to the contractor, who claimed reimbursement from the government for more than $14,000 in lodging expenses -- even though both men were living in Trevino's rented townhouse in Georgetown at the time.
Under the arrangement, the contractor, John E. Gilchrist, paid Trevino's rent of $3,200 a month for four months, HUD said in a complaint filed March 24 with the department's Office of Administrative Law Judges.
The department had sought $50,240.50 from the men, an amount that included civil penalties as well as recovery of $14,120 in improper payments. The action followed an investigation of Trevino last year by the HUD inspector general's office.
It was unclear yesterday whether Gilchrist had also reached a settlement with HUD. He did not return two telephone calls seeking comment.
Trevino has said he was unaware of a federal regulation that prohibited such lodging arrangements. And he has maintained that HUD officials knew the contractor was living in his rental home when they approved the vouchers, and that the invoices were not false or misleading.
In an April interview, Trevino told The Washington Post, "I can't really defend what I did, because, in retrospect, it was a stupid thing to do."
Jones said Trevino believes HUD officials filed the complaint in retribution for what she described as his attempts to cut out wasteful spending practices at the agency.
"He continues to believe that he really didn't violate any laws, regulations or policies," she said.