Lorraine McCalebb, a former Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) public housing tenant who — Gambit reported on Sept. 28— claims the agency improperly evicted her from her Algiers home, moved out this morning.
After the jump: McCalebb isn't sure yet where's she's going to live, but she's sure how she'll spend the rest of her morning — going over her case with an agent from the federal office that investigates allegations of housing agency fraud and mismanagement.
Also: Updates from McCalebb and Special Agent In Charge Bobby Anderson of the HUD Office of Inspector General.
As she carefully smoothed out a dress from a small pile of clothes and hung it for the move, McCalebb said she did not yet know where she would be staying tonight. She was trying to focus on more immediate goals.
"Right now I'm just trying to get this all out of here so I can get it into storage," she said.
After nearly two months of fighting her eviction order, which she claims was based on an incorrect rental rate, McCalebb was ordered out of her home on Sept. 27 by Second City Court Judge Mary Norman.
Shortly after the court order, McCalebb contacted U.S. Attorney Jim Letten, who put her in contact with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of Inspector General (HUD OIG). HUD OIG investigates allegations of fraud and mismanagement in the federal department as well as local housing agencies, like HANO, that HUD oversees.
McCalebb was scheduled to meet with an agent from the office this morning to discuss her case.
"I have to be out of here before 11," McCalebb said, and here her mood became suddenly, noticeably brighter. "I have an important meeting to go to."
Update (2:30 p.m.): I just got off the phone with McCalebb. She said her meeting with HUD OIG left her with the impression that the office would not be investigating her complaint, though the agent she spoke with didn't actually say as much.
A Gambit call to HUD OIG's local office seeking comment on the case has not yet been returned.
Update 2 (3:15 p.m.) Special Agent In-Charge Bobby Anderson, of the New Orleans HUD OIG said that HUD is, in fact, taking a look at McCalebb's complaint, though, he added, HUD OIG's interview with McCalebb didn't appear to turn up any red flags.
"We really couldn't find an allegation," Anderson said. As far as his office could tell from the interview, this was a simple case of a tenant evicted for nonpayment of rent. But when asked to comment on possible inconsistencies in McCalebb's eviction and lease paperwork, Anderson indicated that he hadn't heard about that specifically.
"We do know she said there was an issue with her paperwork," he said.
Anderson said his office will review the case with both HANO and the Second City Court.
"It's not a dead issue."