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Michigan housing chief submits thousands in bills

Michigan housing chief requests thousands of dollars in expense reimbursements from state
Posted on Aug. 7, 2014 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Aug. 7, 2014 at 6:17 a.m.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Public records show the head of Michigan’s housing authority has racked up tens of thousands of dollars in expenses since taking office in 2012.

Michigan State Housing Development Authority Executive Director Scott Woosley has sought reimbursements for lavish transportation, boarding, meals and drinks, The Detroit Free Press (http://on.freep.com/1qZHCmx ) reported Thursday. He has stayed in hotels that cost $400 to $500 a night and traveled in a stretch limousine. He has also expensed dinner receipts that included filet mignon, escargot and foie gras.

The state agency has paid most of his expenses. But officials have rejected hundreds of dollars in reimbursements, including a $48 bar receipt that included only three glasses of 15-year-old rum.

Woosley, who makes $135,000 a year, told the newspaper he doesn’t apologize for his expense vouchers. He said charges, such as the hotel fee, are “the normal cost of doing business.” He also said any reimbursement requests he made for alcohol charges were unintentional.

Lon Johnson, chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party, said Woosley’s expenses follow a pattern of abuse that he’s noticed in the administration of Gov. Rick Snyder.

“Maybe in Rick Snyder’s world some CEOs run their companies like fiefdoms where you can dole out favors and spend lavishly on perks,” Johnson said.

Snyder spokeswoman Sara Wurfel wouldn’t comment on Woosley’s expenses, but she said officials are expected to conduct business as inexpensively as possible on behalf of Michigan residents.

The state also pays for the costs of Woosley’s SUV, including gas, which amounts to about $6,500 per year. He also frequently uses a state-owned aircraft that totaled an additional $20,000 in charges.

Woosley said that his expenses aren’t paid with state tax dollars. He also said he is unaware of any pushback regarding his expense claims.

But some officials in charge of approving expenses have only approved portions of his expense claims. One official only approved $40 of a $152 lunch bill. Another meal racked up a $361 bill, of which $121 was approved.

Information from: Detroit Free Press, http://www.freep.com


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