Local News

May 12, 2014 4:19 PM by Andrew Ellison - aellison@kristv.com

6 Investigates: City says Civl Rights Group Broke Promise

CORPUS CHRISTI - The city of Corpus Christi is suing a civil rights group over a broken promise that cost the city hundred of thousands of dollars.

It all has to do with the Texas League of United Latin American Citizens and their housing program here in Corpus Christi. It's called the Texas L.U.L.A.C. Apartments of the Village. That group promised to build a low income complex for disabled veterans back in 2008, but never did.

The city signed a contract with the group, and agreed to pay them $400,000 for the project. The city received those funds through a Housing and Urban Development grant.

It was going to be called "Oasis at the Park", and the plan was to renovate an old abandoned building located at the corner of Comanche and Port.

It was supposed to become 80 units worth of affordable housing for disabled veterans. It was supposed to be done by June 2010. The project never happened.

"They did not follow through on the performance that they contracted for," Mayor Nelda Martinez says.

The city's lawsuit against the organization states that the city wants its money back.

Pablo Garza, from our local American Legion post, is sad to see that a project meant for veterans never went anywhere.

"That should have never happened alright. Somebody dropped the ball," he says.

In addition to the L.U.L.A.C. organization, the lawsuit names a man named Henry Gorham. Gorham was the executive director of the program when the deal was done back in 2008.

We tracked him down to find out what happened to the money, but he says he doesn't know much. He was kicked off the board a year after the contract was signed.

"I know that we used some of the money to buy the property, then we used some because we had an architect. We paid the architect for the renderings and everything else were going to do... so there was a good amount of money that was spent at that point. Now I don't know what was left over," Gorham says.

We tried to call the board president for the L.U.L.A.C. Apartments of the Village, but we never got a call back.

So, we called the Texas Department of Housing.

Turns out, the State denied L.U.L.A.C.'s request for funding back in 2008, citing a lack of financial planning, and the fact that the complex would have trouble covering its operating expenses.

Basically, this project went off track right from the start.

The city of Corpus Christi isn't happy, and wants its money back.

"Everyone needs to be accountable for promises made," Mayor Martinez says.

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