Maine Housing Vendor List Shows Troubling Pattern Of Expenditures

By • Jan 18th, 2012 • Category: News

Magicians, Massages, DJs, Luxury Hotels and Political Groups Among Vendors of Quasi-State Agency

PORTLAND – The Maine Heritage Policy Center (MHPC) today released a disturbing list of vendors of the Maine State Housing Authority (MSHA). The vendor list, which details recipients of MSHA expenditures, contained hundreds of organizations and businesses that seem to stray far from MSHA’s mission to provide affordable housing to impoverished Mainers.

The MSHA vendor list – published on MHPC’s news site, TheMaineWire.com – contains hundreds of luxury hotels and bed and breakfast inns, including Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, the Ritz-Carlton in Boston, the Woodstock Inn in Vermont, the Caribe Royal in Orlando, and many more. Also included on the list are professional DJs, entertainers, a massage therapist, martial arts instructors, ski resorts, water parks, and a magician.

MSHA has apparently given taxpayer funds to political groups as well – including EqualityMaine, Maine Equal Justice Partners, and the Sierra Club.

MHPC attained the list as part of a Freedom of Access Act request. MSHA released the list of vendors, but has so far refused to release dollar amounts or dates of the transactions. MHPC originally requested this data in June of 2011, but MSHA has repeatedly delayed the release of more detailed information.

“The pattern emerging from MaineHousing is troubling, to say the least,” said Lance Dutson, Chief Executive Officer of The Maine Heritage Policy Center. “Exorbitant salary increases, indiscriminate bonuses, and questionable expenditures on luxury hotels and hundreds of items outside of the scope of their mission – this is almost the exact pattern we saw with the Maine Turnpike Authority.”

“No government agency should be outside the realm of accountability, and Maine Housing’s operations are a clear example why. I urge the legislature to take swift action to empower the Maine Housing board to rein in what appears to be a pattern of abuse of taxpayer funds.”

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