HUD: Review of Bucklin Report Prepared to Assist HUD in Defending Against EEO Complaint by HUD's Deputy Assistant Inspector General

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1999-08-03.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

      United States
GAO   General Accounting OfEce
      Washington, D.C. 20548

      Office of Special Investigations


      August 3,1999

      The Honorable Christopher “Kit” Bond
      Committee on Small Business
      United States Senate

      Subject: HUD: Review of Bucklin Renort PreDared to Assist HUD in Defending
               Against EEO Comnlaint bv HUD’s Denutv Assistant Jnsnector General

      Dear Mr. Chairman:

      On July 13,1999, you requested the Office of Special Investigations to conduct a
      comprehensive review of the report prepared by Donald T. Bucklin of Squire,
      Sanders & Dempsey for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (BUD).
      Based on time constraints, your office subsequently agreed to limit the scope of our
      review to identifying factual inaccuracies. The enclosure identifies several
      inaccurate statements that we found in the Bucldin Report.

      We will make copies of this letter available to others on request. Please contact
      Assistant Director Ron Msbi or me at (202) 512-6722 if we can be of further
      assistance in this matter.

      Sincerely yours,

      Robert H. Hast ’
      Acting Assistant Comptroller General
       for Special Investigations


                                         GAO/OH-99-16R    Review of the Bnclclin Report to HUD
Enclosure I

                        ERRORS IN THE BUCKLIN          REPORT

1. BUCKLIN REPORT: Beginning on or about July 29,1998, HUD contracted for the
services of Liston A Jackson of Counter Technology, Inc., a contractor included on the
General Services Admimstration’s (GSA) Federal Supply Schedule, to conduct the
investigation of the allegations in the EEO complaint by the Acting Ass&ant Inspector
General for Investigation (AIGI) (p. 14).

l   HUD contracted with Counter Technology, Inc. on May 26,1998.

2. BUCKLIN     REPORTz Prior to Counter Technology, Inc. beginning the investigation
of the complaint, however, HUD determined that the best interests of the Department
required that another contractor be utilized (p. 14).

l   HUD decided to use another contractor after Counter Technology, Inc. had already
    begun its investigation.
    l  On May 26,1998, HUD contracted with Counter Technology, Inc.
    l  On or about June 10,1998, Counter Technology, Inc. assigned an investigator who
       contacted the complainant’s attorney.
    l  On July 13,1998, the investigator began arranging his interviews. He conducted a
       number of interviews prior to HUD directing Counter Technology, Inc., on
       August 5,1998, to put the investigation on hold.
     l On August 51998, HUD took action to forward a scope of work to potential
     l On August 26,1998, HUD awarded contracts to Day, Berry & Howard, L.L.P. and
       will.iams & connolly.

3. BUCKLIN REPORT: The EEO complainant, who is African-American and had been
serving as AIGI since June 1996, alleges that on December 9,1997, HUD’s Inspector
General, Susan Gaffney, did not select him for the AIGI position. She instead chose
Philip A &saris (pp. 3,4).

l   The complainant had been serving as Acting AIGI since June 1997, not June 1996.

4. BUCKLIN       REPORT: According to HUD officials, the Department of Justice (DOJ)
and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) directed Ms. Gaf%ey to use traditional,
objective DOJ/FBI investigation criteria in targeting participants for HUD’s Urban Fraud
Initiative, declining further involvement in the process until she did so. When HUD’s
Office of Inspector General (OIG) utilized these new selection criteria, the target areas
changed dramaticahy and no longer focused exclusively on cities with African-American
mayors (p. 7).

2                                     GAO/OS&99-16R    Review of the Buddin Report to HUD
Enclosure I

        l   The HUD OIG had worked closely with the FBI at every stage of the process of
            selecting the three candidate cities for the Urban Fraud Initiative. They jointIy
             developed the investigative criteria.
        l   .DOJ, the FBI, and the HUD OIG were equally committed to finding a method of
            selection that would not cause more charges of racism. The FBI and DOJ never
             declined further involvement.

5. BUCKLIN      REPORT: HUD, with the full approval of its Chief Procurement Officer,
nevertheless decided to utilize an open-bid, expedited procurement procedure pursuant
to applicable Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) and the Housing and Urban
Development Acquisition Regulations (HUDAR). See 48 C.F.R. section 2401.104
(applicability of FAR to HUD procurement); 48 C.F.R. sections 6.302-2,6.302-3,13.602
(FAR requirements relating to sole-source acquisitions and contracting for expert
services) @p. 15,16).

    l       Neither the current version of the C.F.R. nor the version in effect in 1998 contains a
            section 13.602. The 1995 version of the C.F.R. contained a section 13.602, but it
            addressed micro-purchase policy and had nothing to do with either sole-source
            acquisitions or expert services.

6. BUCKLIN REPORT: On or about March 17,1998, Congressman Rhjah Cummings
(D-MD) wrote a letter to Robert Bryant, Assistant Director, FBI, Criminal Investigation
Division, expressing concern over a “pattern of racial bias and discrimination in HUD’s
Office of Inspector General.” (Footnote) It is unclear what, if any, action the President’s
Council on Integrity and Rfficiency (PClE) has taken regarding Mr. Cummmgs’ concerns
@. 6).
    l       Had Mr. Bucklin inquired, he could have learned that PCIE had referred the case to
            DOJ on July 13,1998. On August 24,1998, DOJ concluded that there was insufficient
            information to open a criminal investigation; and the matter was referred back to
            PCIE for any necessary action.

7. BUCKLIN REPORT: On or about March 12,1997, Ms. Gaffney testified regarding
HUD’s Indian housing programs before the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. In
his letter, Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell said that he found “very troubling”
Ms. GaEney’s testimony that abuse and mismanagement in Indian housing authorities
were worse than in public housing authorities and that rent collection in Indian country
was more difficult because of “cultural factors.” Senator Campbell requested that
Ms. Gmey provide “specific documentary evidence” to support the assertions made in
her testimony. We are unaware of any evidentiary support the OIG has provided to
Senator Campbell @. 8).

l           Ms. Gaffney responded to Senator Campbell in a letter dated April 18,1997,
            explaining that the Senator had misheard and misunderstood her testimony.

3                                             GAO/OS&9CMB      Review of the Bucklin Report to HUD
Enclosure I

8. BUCKLIN REPORT: The law firm Williams & Connolly has no conflict with HUD in
investigating the complaint. HUD reviewed the allegations against the HUD Official,
Helen Dunlop, in the matter styled Ervin and Associates. Inc. v. Helen Dunlan. et al.,
(D.D.C. 961253 (WBB)), and referred the case to DOJ for its review. On or about July 25,
1996, DOJ, finding no wrongdoing, offered to provide Ms. Dunlop with representation in
the matter. Ms. Dunlop accepted the representation, which Williams & Connolly is
providing under DOSS authority and supervision Therefore, there is no conflict between
Williams & Connolly and HUD relating to this issue (p. 31).

l       The HUD OIG did not assert that Williams & Connolly’s representation of Ms. Dunlop
        in Ervin and Associates. Inc. v. Helen Dunlan, a civil suit, created a conflict of interest
        for Williams & Connolly. Bather, the OIG complained that Williams & Co~olly’s
        representation of Ms. Dunlop in a HUD OIG criminal investigation, at the same time
        that Williams & Connolly was investigating allegations of racial discrimination by the
        HUD OIG, created a conflict of interest.

9. BUCKLIN         REPORT: According to the EEO Complaint Inventory Summary (10/93-
g/98), EEO complaints for the OIG totaled 43 during the past 5 years (p. 15).

    l   Using figures that HUD provided through Mr. Bucldin, the number of complaints
        totaled 41.

10. BUCKLIN REPORT: The Office of General Counsel, which is approximately the
same size as the OIG , registered 27 complaints for the same period @. 15).

    l   Using figures that HUD provided through Mr. Bucklin, the number of complaints
        totaled 26.

11. BUCKLIN REPORTz The Office of Community Planning and Development, which
is almost twice the size of the OIG, registered 43 complaints (pp. 15,16).

l       Using the figures that BUD provided through Mr. ~Bucldin, the number of complaints
        totaled 39.


4                                           GAO/OSI-99-16B   Review of the Bucklin Report to HUD
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