Presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, IN, may be picking at his nails 24 short hours after a lackluster performance on the national stage in Detroit – but not over his debate performance or the push to abolish the Electoral College. No, the good mayor is seeing the house of cards he neatly stacked in his beloved city these past seven years take a brisk wind into the atmosphere.
The FBI raided the South Bend Housing Authority and at least one home owned by the agency. Although agents have not released what they were in search of, several locals reminded the news media that cronyism was alive and well, and mismanagement of the Housing Authority has always been a sticky wicket for the city’s government.
Buttigieg was quick to set himself apart from rampant speculation by issuing a statement that sounded as if he had no idea who these people were and what they might have done. He said:
“Earlier today the Mayor’s Office became aware through local media reports of today’s law enforcement action at the Housing Authority. While the Housing Authority is not part of the City administration, the Mayor is concerned and will be closely following the situation.
“The Mayor is in touch with the Board of Commissioners and has asked that they keep him informed on what they learn from federal officials. In the meantime, he has offered the City’s assistance to help ensure residents are not negatively impacted by this situation. He has been advised that normal operations will continue.”
Well, that’s a relief. The only teeny tiny problem is that the mayor is the one who appoints members of the Housing Authority board. To be fair, Buttigieg replaced his authority board in 2015 for yes, that catch all term: mismanagement. Now he has a hand-picked, brand spanking new group of shiny faces – that just four short years later is adding to the angst of a small-town mayor attempting to grab the big brass ring in US politics.
The board has faced years of complaints about pitiable living conditions and reports of mismanagement of financials – including a massive misuse of federal funding. Government reports reflect that between 2013 and 2014 the agency owed $500,000 after a breach of trust and a serious misuse of federal funds earmarked for poor families.
As Scandals Go…
A group of rogue housing authority board members in a small flyover state town would normally not make the evening news. But this is the second giant gaffe in South Bend under the purview of the man who dreams of being president. Buttigieg faced an angry mob this past June for his handling, or mishandling, of the fatal shooting of a black man by a white police officer, and his comments were seemingly a condemnation of the officer involved:
“And I could walk you through all of the things that we have done as a community, all of the steps that we took, from bias training to de-escalation, but it didn’t save the life of Eric Logan.”
And that made everyone angry. The family of the victim is suing, a special prosecutor is now involved to investigate, and police officers are talking about a mass exodus out of the department.
One officer told Fox News, “That’s the big discussion … is who’s staying and who’s going. I think you’re going to see a mass exodus, our administration is a joke.”
The Mayor spent a nano-second in South Bend before returning to the campaign trail. Apparently, he was visualizing the big picture. But the focus today is the mess this former mayor with a constituency of about 100,000 people now adds to his scandals list. Can you imagine the roster of oopsies if he is elected president?