Justice Department sues ex-housing head for missing funds

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department of Justice logo


CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — The Justice Department has sued the former director of a southern Illinois public housing authority to collect what he agreed to pay to settle a federal claim of fraud.

The Southern Illinoisan in Carbondale reports the lawsuit filed Friday seeks to collect $500,000 from former Alexander County Housing Authority Director James Wilson. Court records show Wilson making about $923,000 in false claims to Cairo’s housing agency between December 2011 and May 2014.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development accused the longtime director of public housing in Cairo and Thebes of inappropriately spending federal funds on alcohol, food, gifts, excessive travel and on a consulting contract for himself upon his retirement.

In addition to seeking what Wilson agreed in 2018 to repay, the lawsuit asks for “any further relief the Court may deem just and proper.”

Neither Wilson nor his attorney immediately returned a telephone call seeking comment.