By Russ Racop
On July 31st we broke the story that there was an internal investigation afoot at the Pulaski County office of Community Services.
A recipient of Section 8 HVC vouchers contacted us on that same day for assistance and we began our investigation.
Her landlord contacted her and told her she had three days to get out of her apartment because she had fraudulently obtained assistance.
The landlord had been contacted by Love's staff before she had. She didn't understand what was going on because she just moved into the apartment and had been vetted and approved for assistance by Love's department.
It's not the first time someone has reached out to us about Fred Love and that county department.
|Love also serves in the state legislature as a Senator.|
We have received allegations and some records about sexual and workplace harassment, malfeasance and misuse of county resources involving Love.
We immediately called the number listed on that rent payment notice and asked to speak with the person in charge. The lady that answered the phone said she was the director and her name was Holli Roy.
Roy stated she knew nothing about anyone getting removed from that program.
We tried calling Love, but got no answer. So we called he County Judge's office.
We told an employee there what was going on and the reference made in correspondence to our source about an internal investigation. She claimed to know nothing about it and asked for us to send details and copies of records to the County Judge.
We then called back to Love's office and made a verbal FOI request.
That lit a fire under Love's ass.
Why Love asked a federal agency employee about our state FOI request to a county agency instead of the county attorney is a tip off about his critical thinking abilities.
The federal employee set him straight.
That HUD PIH notice will be a key factor a little later on in this story.
And a county attorney also chimed in.
Letters were sent to 35 individuals and landlord (one was the NLR Housing Department) making serious allegations.
Our source requested hearing to appeal the decision to kick her off the program. Love's office set one up for Friday, August 4th at the late hour of the work day 4:30 pm.
Our source also requested records that were involved in a determination to void her contract and kick her off the program.
At the last minute, they changed the time for the hearing. More on this later a well.
As of the time this story was posted, she had not received any documents from Love.
But we did.
And the records provided to us reveal how fucked up that county office really is and why County Judge Barry Hyde needs to make some immediate personnel changes.
We received this email today and a link to download files responsive to our request.
The records provided show that Love immediately asked for investigative help from numerous agencies (HUD, Prosecuting Attorney and Attorney General) after we got involved and started our investigation.
This letter shows that they had already changed the time of the hearing from 4:30 pm to 10:00 am before checking with our source to see if that was okay with her. Look at the date and time on each email. Shady shit.
Records provided to us list 35 recipients and four employees that are alleged to have committed some sort of wrongdoing even though it appears that no formal review or investigation has actually been conducted. None of those 35 individuals has been interviewed or questioned.
The four former employees impliciated and accused by Love were easy to identify.
A quick looks at the county website revealed their full names and former positions.
Love also provided unredacted records that revealed applicants personally identifiable information, exemption from disclosure under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act and federal law specifically referenced in that HUD PIH notice we mentioned at the beginning of this story.
Records release to use gave their date of birth, drivers license number or passport number, phone number, Social Security number and income.
Here are some examples (we redacted the exempt information that Love did not as well as there names).
We apprised the county of this serious, illegal release of protected information.
They sent this email.
Love has created serious problems for himself and the administration of County Judge Barry Hyde.
Both of them, as well as others, could potentially be removed from office and barred from ever holding a public office in the future.
That can't happen fast enough.