Wilmington Housing Authority needs more time and money to release public records

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Former City Council Candidate Napier Fuller says the Wilmington Housing Authority is still not cooperating with his requests for public records.

Fuller wants to know the amount of evictions the Wilmington Housing Authority has pursued against tenants involved with criminal activity.

"Other public housing authorities are really aggressive on this matter,” said Napier Fuller. “We certainly shouldn't be in the business of funding with our tax dollars criminals living and working."

The Wilmington Housing Authority told Fuller last week that his request for that information would cost him 700 dollars.

He then filed a formal complaint with Attorney General Roy Cooper's office against the Wilmington Housing Authority regarding lack of access to public records.

In an email to Fuller Friday, the Wilmington Housing Authority says a hired attorney would have to review 93,000 emails and 11,000 documents. The emails says it will cost the Wilmington Housing Authority $70,000.

"The $70,000 is not required by North Carolina law at all," said Fuller. "That is something that they have decided to do."

Fuller says there is no need to review all 93,000 emails, and he suggested the Wilmington Housing Authority use a simple algorithm to narrow down the search instead of hiring an attorney.

Wilmington Housing Authority says in the email it believes in full transparency but fiscal responsibility is of utmost concern as well as the financial impact this will have to the community.

Fuller resubmitted his request again to only include digital records of emails from WHA's CEO starting January of 2010.

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well it went from $700.00 to $70.000 in one week.I would say someone up the chain had to get right on that.

Like DAK America...it was a typo...or just simple inflation in today's economy!

they are in violation.

The law allows a charge to be made for the material costs required to comply. Things like paper, ink, computer cds and so forth meet the smell test.

Legal fees are clearly prohibited by statute.

Certain topics are exempt. Personnel matters lead that rung.

The information requested is rather basic; and should be readily available by anyone with basic business computer skills.

Here's a very simple 2 part question.

How many housing units does WHA manage?

What is the annual budget allocated to WHA?

Keep it simple. No need for months of research. No need for a gaggle of over priced attorneys.

This should be a 10 minute exercise requiring the skills of an entry level clerk.

It's interesting. The city of Raleigh has some RHA issues of its own. Their Executive Director earns $240,000 in salary and another $280,000 in benefits, perks, per diems, and so forth. A total package of $520,000. He manages a budget of $50,000,000 and 5,700 housing units. He gets 4 weeks vacation annually. He accrues comp time; and in 2013, he took 11 weeks off which was charged to comp time. All to pursue his interest in magic and card tricks by attending conventions as a compensated speaker and in writing books on the subject. Think about that; he took a total of 15 weeks off; worked 37 weeks less holidays; and had a total package of $520,000.

The Raleigh Mayor is up in arms. She has called for an investigation; and directed the City Attorney to work with the City Council to get to the bottom of the issue and present the facts for taxpayer review.

I wonder how Puff Saffo will react? Burrow down; or do the right thing and require the WHA Board and Acting Director to present the facts.

There's a 2 part question above which he can point to and require an answer by 12/31. Then go from there.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that the Wilmington Housing Authority has something to hide and is trying to buy as much time as possible (at taxpayers' expense) to find a way to cover it up.

When are citizens going to DEMAND all government agencies, at all levels, end the corruption. Why in heaven's name do we want them handling our health care?

"Wilmington Housing Authority says in the email it believes in full transparency but fiscal responsibility is of utmost concern as well as the financial impact this will have to the community."

This is nothing more than double speak. The Wilmington Housing Authority has created a system designed to circumvent any transparency, regardless of what they claim. They are using "fiscal responsibility" as a lie to frustrate and hopefully make anyone that dares to question them go away. Hopefully the Attorney General will step in and not let them get away with it.

Sounds like the WHA is trying to hide something.

Good for Mr. Fuller! The WHA has long operated in secrecy. It is past time for the public to have access to the inner workings of the mystical world of public housing. Why would the WHA need to incur $70K in attorney's fees for documents that are to be open to the public? Maybe, like Smart Start, they've got something to hide?