Show me the money

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(The following letter was sent to William K. Barth, director Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Ccommunity Planning and Development.) A block grant of $400,000 was given to the City of Malibu to provide a senior center. The City Council used the grant to rent a building for a city hall and set aside a small room for the use of the seniors, which they called the senior center, separated from the council chamber by a sliding room divider which is open during council meetings making it unavailable to the seniors at that time. The rental was for a five year lease, the first year being used to prepare the building for a city hall. At the end of the lease, the grant will be used up making no provision for a senior center, the original purpose of the grant.

The location of the building is ten miles from the major concentration of seniors in two mobile home parks and a long walk uphill from the nearest bus stop. The city hall is open only during business hours so the alleged senior center is closed weekends and evenings. The room is too small to accommodate a sit-down meal or a dance.

The Board of Directors of the Malibu Senior Citizens Club objected to the use of the block grant as a fund to provide a city hall, having been promised by Pepperdine University that it would sell a surplused building of over 4,000 square feet and move it to a parcel of land that could have been rented for a nominal sum for the approximate sum of $110,000 total. However, the City Council adamantly refused to accept this proposal and used the block grant for the five year lease of the office building that now houses the city hall and council chamber.

We would appreciate your investigation of this matter to determine if misuse of funds took place and, if so, what can be done to ameliorate the situation.

Matthew D. Cohn, president

Malibu Senior Citizens Club