Former Safelite CEO John Barlow has vehemently disputed a claim that his nonprofit Naples, Fla., housing company had any deficiencies in compliance with grant requirements and new appraisal documents have surfaced which appear to support his claim.
The nonprofit, Housing Opportunities Made for Everyone (HOME), sought to offer housing to low-income families. An audit performed by Dwight Brock, the Collier County Circuit Clerk of Courts, alleged that HOME used federal grant money to reduce the selling price through buy-down financing not approved by commissioners instead of purchasing or refurbishing homes.
“Appraisals reviewed by Brock’s own staff two years ago document construction Brock says was not proven,” according to a new report by Gina Edwards, a reporter for watchdogcity.com.
An investigation of Brock’s internal audit files “shows that dozens of photos in home appraisal reports—reviewed by Brock’s own staff more than two years ago—document the significant remodeling work done,” according to the report.
“Photos of the 12 houses HOME remodeled as part of a public-private effort that received federal grant money show some houses, more than 30 years old, that underwent major home makeovers: Appraisal photos document new kitchen cabinets, including granite countertops, new tile floors, completely remodeled bathrooms with new tile and showers, vanities and toilets, new appliances and new roofs,” according to the report.
“As a member of the board of directors of a nonprofit that assisted the community in providing quality affordable housing at a time when home prices had significantly increased in our area, I vehemently dispute any allegation or innuendo that any grant money was misused by anyone in our organization,” Barlow had said.
“The community benefited from our efforts and we are confident that the claims of the Clerk of Court, whom I recently opposed in an election and who is now raising these claims more than three years after our project was completed, will prove to be absolutely without merit,” he adds.
Brock successfully ran against Barlow in an election for the Collier County Clerk of Circuit Courts in 2012.
Barlow retired from Safelite in 2003, after working there for 12 years, the last six of which were spent as CEO.