Julian Castro is the latest rising star in the Democratic Party. He gave the keynote address at the Democratic Convention in 2012 and has been tapped as President Obama’s next secretary of Housing and Urban Development. However, now Politico is reporting that San Antonio failed to properly spend funds while Castro was the city’s mayor:
San Antonio was awarded $8.6 million from HUD in 2008 as part of the national Neighborhood Stabilization Program. The city used the money to buy, refurbish and resell homes left vacant after eviction and to also renovate large apartment complexes in the city that were rented out to lower-income tenants.
The HUD IG audited how the money was being spent from 2009 to 2011 and found that city officials had awarded $2.5 million in renovation contracts without a competitive bidding process. Castro, 39, became mayor in May 2009, a job he continues to hold.
The report also found that the city misused roughly $1.1 million when acquiring and fixing properties because some of the properties were not put toward housing lower-income families as required by HUD.
The IG found that the city failed to take certain steps to review the contracts with developers and that officials were “apparently unaware” of certain affordability rules.
Much like Cory Booker before him, Castro is learning how hard it is to break onto the national scene after leading a historically Democratic city. Often, the baggage from such state-level offices hinder careers. Unfortunately for Democrats, their bench is awfully empty besides Hillary Clinton. Many Democrats had pegged Castro as the next big thing. However, tapping a former mayor who misappropriated HUD funds to the head of HUD is typically the type of move that backfires.