Former Safelite CEO John Barlow has financed an independent forensic audit of his non-profit that showed no impropriety in a report released today. Barlow commissioned the audit “in order to clear the reputations of Housing Opportunities Made for Everyone (HOME) board members and his own, all of which were seriously harmed by the false allegations emanating from [Collier County Circuit Clerk of Courts] Dwight Brock,” he says. “All 13 homes [under the non-profit program] were resold and mortgages [were] properly executed,” according to accounting firm MRW Consulting Group, which performed the audit.
After an earlier audit, Brock had 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.
The nonprofit sought to offer housing to low-income families.
“HOME has received an actual, bona fide audit confirming that all state and federal taxpayer funds were properly accounted for, and that the allegations of Clerk of Courts Dwight Brock are wholly false,” writes Barlow in a statement. “MRW Consulting Group Inc., a widely recognized and respected forensic accounting firm, has issued its audit report today.”
“HOME purchased a total of seven homes that were partially funded by CDBG [federal grant funds],” writes Ronald E. Wise, partner of MRW Consulting Group in the report. “HOME purchased an additional six homes with private funds. HOME rehabilitated and resold all 13 homes. Rehabilitation was funded in part by SHIP funds [state grant funds].”
HOME resold the homes to “income eligible individuals” as the CDBG and SHIP agreements with CollierCounty required, Wise wrote.
“HOME properly accounted for all CDBG and SHIP funds expended under the agreements,” he continued. “CollierCounty rehab specialist Rick Torres inspected each of the homes and recommended reimbursements as requested. In addition, the Collier County Board of CountyCommissioners issued Certificates of Completion for all SHIP rehabilitation projects. HOME provided all required documentation to Collier County Housing, Human and Veteran Services (HHVS) to support expenses. HOME properly accounted for the expenditure of all private funds.”
“All 13 homes were resold and mortgages properly executed for CDBG and SHIP funds used to subsidize mortgages,” according to the forensic accounting firm report. “House No. 12 was sold to an individual who placed the house in a trust. HOME reimbursed the county for SHIP funds that had been expended for rehabilitation of that home. There were no SHIP or HOME mortgages recorded on house No. 12.”
HOME dissolved in late 2010 due to the housing economic decline and increased competition from a similar county program.
“In June 2010, HOME received a CDBG closeout document from Collier County HHVS noting there was no program income or irregularities,” Wise wrote.
“At great personal cost, I now have confirmation by a reputable, independent accounting firm that HOME properly spent state and federal funds, properly documented and accounted for those funds years ago, and no conflict of interest was ever present with the respect to the use of SHIP funds or CDBG funds,” writes Barlow in a statement.
“Brock, after publically trashing our integrity and threatening us with sending his false report to ‘law enforcement’ has instead done nothing, obviously satisfied that his damage to us in the press met his needs. HOME will be sending the entirety of these circumstances to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to further clear our names, and to see if Brock has himself committed wrongdoing by unfairly and unjustly using his office to persecute HOME, its board and me,” he continued.
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.
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