Florida housing agency chief resigns after audit reveals expensive meals, bonuses
The executive director of Florida Housing Finance Corp. has resigned in the wake of an audit that rapped the agency for hosting expensive meals, including a $52,000 dinner, and awarding nearly $443,000 in employee bonuses while thousands of Floridian were waiting for help to save their homes.
Stephen Auger, who has headed the state-run agency since 2005, said he was stepping down from his job in a letter to the agency's board chairman the day after the Tampa Bay Times reported on the audit.
"It has been an honor and a blessing to have been part of an organization of such fine people who work so diligently to provide a range of affordable housing opportunities that help make Florida's communities great places to live, work and do business," Auger wrote.
But the agency under Auger's tenure has repeatedly come under fire for its lackluster performance in helping struggling homeowners during the foreclosure crisis. In a blistering report last year prompted by a Times' investigation, a top federal official said Florida had one of the highest rejection rates and lowest acceptance rates of applicants seeing mortgage relief from the federal Hardest Hit Fund.
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Herald/Times reporter Kristen M. Clark contributed to this report.