NPP Secretary General: Public Housing projects sold at ‘bargain prices’ to select group
SAN JUAN – The Housing Financing Authority sold its public housing projects at “bargain prices” to a “select group of developers,” as well as some loan portfolios in an effort to raise funding for the Government Development Bank (GDB), a New Progressive Party lawmaker charged Wednesday.
NPP Secretary General José Aponte demanded explanations from Housing Secretary Alberto Lastra. Neither Secretary Lastra or the Housing Financing Authority (HFA) executive director answered immediately questions from Caribbean Business.
Aponte said the first of the transactions took place Feb. 2 when an FHA loan portfolio was sold at bargain prices.
“The governing board, in an irresponsible act, authorized the sale of assets from that entity, including dozens of public housing projects and loan portfolios. All of this to bring funds to the GDB. Unfortunately, the transactions have occurred and the ones that are being negotiated are all at bargain prices. This action will leave the HFA in a bad state and could risk its access to federal funds,” Aponte said.
The HFA board is also negotiating with the investment firm O’Brien-Staley to sell properties and loans as well as 800 single-family loans, at half price. He said that the transactions could leave the HFA without economic footing and put at risk federal funds for Section 8 and Home programs that assist homebuyers.