The Real Deal Miami

Ethics commission investigating Homestead Housing Authority hire

April 15, 2013 03:00PM

From left: David Berrones and Steven Bateman

The Florida Commission on Ethics has found probable cause to believe that Homestead Housing Authority chairman David Berrones had a conflict of interest when he voted to hire his friend, Oscar Hentschel, to be the HHA’s new director in 2011, the Miami Herald reported.

The commission first started looking into the matter after HHA board member Lois Jones complained about the hiring of Hentschel. The commission will now have to decide whether any laws were broken and if it wants to recommend a penalty. 

Hentschel, a former international television network executive, was hired for his position even though he was under-qualified for the job, the Miami Herald said.

In a letter to HHA board member Audelia Martinez written in December 2011, a Housing and Urban Development official said that out of the 26 candidates to apply for the director position, 23 met the basic requirement of having worked with a public housing authority for five or more years. Hentschel was not one of the 23.

The HHA manages about $20 millions in public money from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. [The Miami Herald]Evan Bleier