PEMBROKE — The Lumbee Tribal Council has it all wrong when it says the tribe has accumulated $18 million in unspent housing money since 2007, according to the tribe’s attorney.
Ed Brooks told The Robesonian that the council members don’t understand how money received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is now recorded. The $18 million that council thinks has been sitting somewhere unaccounted for is actually the remaining balance of this year’s funding — totaling $4,120,241 — and the tribe’s 2012-13 HUD allotment of $13,048,620 that has already been deposited by the federal agency into the tribe’s 55 Account, Brooks said.
“Council members are looking at that $18 million and thinking it was from previous years,” Brooks said. “They also think that there will be an additional $13 million deposit in the 2012-13 fiscal year.”
Tammy Maynor, the tribe’s director of Governmental Affairs, said that the tribe definitely does not have $31 million available for providing housing services as council members would like to believe.
“It is confusion about when HUD allotments are received,” she said. “It’s a timing issue. We are actually operating on money a year behind.”
Alex Baker, the tribe’s Public Relations manager, said that the $4.1 million now available will be used for housing projects by Sept. 30, the end of the current fiscal year. There will then be just the 2012-13 fiscal year’s allotment remaining in the tribe’s 55 Account, with another deposit of several million dollars in housing money not coming from HUD until maybe August of next year.
At their regular monthly meeting Thursday, Pearlean Revels, the council’s speaker, and Councilman McDuffie Cummings announced that the $18 million had been growing yearly since 2007. They said that no one in the tribal administration or the council was aware of this money that could have been used to provide housing services to tribal members.
Cummings said that the $18 million will be added to the tribe’s fiscal 2013 HUD allocation of almost $13 million to bring the total amount of money available to build and repair homes to more than $31 million.
Council members said that they have been told by tribal administrators, including Chairman Paul Brooks, that there has been no money available to handle all of the housing needs being requested by tribal members. Currently there are more than 1,000 members of the tribe waiting to receive a new home or have their present dwelling rehabilitated. Some have been on a waiting list for several years.
Revels, the council’s speaker, told The Robesonian on Friday that she stands by the council’s analysis and interpretation of tribal financial records.
“That we are wrong is the administration’s opinion,” she said.
Brooks and other tribal administrators did not attend the Thursday meeting during which the council made the claim that $18 million had been lingering and unspent.
Reach staff writer Bob Shiles at 910-272-6117 or email@example.com.