Michigan democrats accuse MSHDA director of lavish spending, implicate governor

Posted at 10:40 PM, Aug 07, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-07 22:43:51-04

LANSING, Mich. -- The Michigan Democratic party is calling out the governor and a top official for the state Michigan. The party accuses Scott Woosley of wasteful spending of taxpayer funds.

Scott Woosley was hired as executive director for the Michigan State Housing Development Authority in October 2012.

Johnson claims an employee for MSHDA blew the whistle anonymously, tipping off the democratic party about alleged lavish spending of tax dollars by woosley and other MSHDA staff.

"During Woosley's trip to the Middle East, he stayed at a $540 a night hotel room in Dubai," Johnson gave as a specific example.

Johnson said Woosley and staff "were spending vast sums of money on extravagant foreign trips, limousines, massages, premium class airfare, fine wine, gourmet meals and rooms at the world's most expensive hotels. Virtually all of this was paid for with public funds."

The democratic party put in a request through the Freedom of Information Act to get more. They that the spending totaled more than $200,000 for Woosley and other staff since he was hired in. That includes $40,000 for flights to various locations around the world on state business.

Johnson said, "That's money that could have been used to support affordable housing and community development."

He said reimbursement for alcohol and massages were denied and were not included in the totals he presented.

Woosley issued this statement:

“I would never expect the state to reimburse what is not properly reimbursable or at a rate that would be inappropriate. I am asking the department of treasury to closely review any previously paid expenses to determine if there was anything at all that was inadvertently reimbursed. If any such instances are found, I will write a personal check for anything that was not an appropriate state-approved expense or that meets established guidelines.

“There is too much positive action taking place at the state -- and at the authority -- for any of this to get in the way of our forward momentum. We are moving the state in a direction that benefits all michiganders. I will continue to do the good work we have started and that is to help meet the housing needs of michiganders, tackle blight and build strong communities and neighborhoods as well as attract investment, capital, jobs, and economic activity."

The democratic party is also pointing the finger at republican governor Rick Snyder. The party claims Snyder is allowing top officials to spend carelessly.

"That's why democrats will be introducing legislation to require that snyder ban the use of expensive limousines, put a cap on overseas travel, and that when state officials do travel, that they use the most economical airline ticket available," Rep. Tim Griemel, the house democratic leader said.

FOX 17 reached out to the governor's office for comment. FOX 17 has not heard back.