Housing and Urban Development’s Secretary Marcia Fudge has a credibility problem. And whether her inadequacy as the former mayor of Warrensville Heights, Ohio, has anything to do with it, we do not know. The Foreclosurepedia Nation is well aware of what originates from that state. Perhaps Secretary Fudge is simply settling into her second place appointment — Fudge has made no bones about wanting to be the Secretary of Agriculture — regardless, though, the reality is that the law doesn’t mean much in her Regime. Case in point, Affordable Housing Finance recently had a sit down with Secretary Fudge and asked her a pointed question about the simple art of listening. Here was the exchange,
AHF: You’ve been a mayor, a Congress member, and a U.S. secretary, what skills have helped you the most?
Fudge: The first would be just listening to people. So often those of us in government decide early on that we know what’s best for people as opposed to talking to the people we are trying to help.
Listening. A simple thing. For example, on 04 October 2023, a HUD Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request under 5 U.S.C. § 552, requesting basic information about the use of HUD forms, by a nonprofit trade association for educational purposes, in the training of Mortgage Field Services personnel. For those of you asking why we did not simply ask HUD in a basic email for an answer, we did. We originally wrote HUD’s Office of the Chief Procurement Officer kingpin Craig Karnes, several times, over the period of the previous month. Karnes, as of late, has raised an Iron Wall between any information pertaining to his absolute control over the Management and Marketing (M&M) Asset Manager (AM) and Field Service Manager (FSM) contracts. While never outright stated, our continued belief has been due to Foreclosurepedia’s continued investigations into the HUD M&M FSM extension going on, without fair and open bidding, for years now. Additionally, as you will read below, Karnes has instituted a total and complete power grab through identical methodologies, upon the HUD M&M AM.
One thing that should be sacrosanct is the non-politicalization of FOIA. In fact, a previous FOIA was filed due to Karnes’ refusal to answer questions pertaining to the alleged non certification of previous HUD M&M FSM 3.10 Awards. The issue came up, days before the filing of this FOIA, due to the public’s viewing non certified Adobe signatures. It was a simple question and one which eventually had to be submitted to Sandra J Wright and Joy A Beslow via FOIA. Within days, Foreclosurepedia was issued a HUD FOIA Control Number. When the information was informally provided by Karnes, the FOIA was dropped.
In the instant case, though, there has been a total and complete embargo placed on even acknowledging receipt of the FOIA. Building on that, Karnes, Wright, and Beslow have weaponized the FOIA process by refusing to provide a HUD FOIA Control Number. This is troubling in light of the fact that Karnes has a history of weaponizing his position going all the way back to the La Rosa protest. Moreover, though, while my reporting on the issues began as early as 2013, as the weaponization began, by 2016 veteran and well seasoned HUD contract writers were observing the same and publicly stating as much. Here is how Serge E Gaudry put it, back then,
I predict that many FSM 3.8 contractors will find it so difficult to find subs willing to do inspections, clean outs etc. that HUD will have to re-compete these contracts. The answer to the FSM mess is for HUD to use the “best value” model and conduct Cost Realism Analysis to evaluate specific elements of each offeror’s proposed cost estimate to determine whether the estimated cost elements are realistic for the work to be performed. This would solve the problem for the FSM contractors as well as the field subcontractors who would be paid a fair price for their services. Furthermore, this would enable FSM contractors to comply with the requirements of the Service Contract Act which.
This is a gentleman with nearly 42 years experience in US government contract proposals, winning multiple multi-million dollar contracts, having memberships in both the National Contract Management Association as well as the National Defense Industrial Association.
Karnes doubled down, though, and recently we saw the very same weaponization of the HUD M&M AM contract with nearly identical language, on the Exhibit 1 Class Justification and Approval (J&A), Justification for Other than Full and Open Competition for Asset Management Services for Areas 3A, 4A, 5A, 6A, 7A, 8A, 1D, 2D, 4D, 5D, 1P, 3P, 4P, 5P, 3S, 4S, 5S, and 6S,
HUD’s Office of Single-Family Housing, Office of Asset Management has a need of unusual and compelling urgency to continue Asset Manager (AM) services under FAR 6.302-2 Other than Full and Open Competition to provide services […].
Raine and Company received $7,621,878.00 out of the $11,238,020.00 up for grabs. And bear in mind that that HUD M&M AM has been on a perpetual, multi-year bridge award with ZERO COMPETITION nearly identical to the HUD M&M FSM contract.
While the HUD M&M program has been an abject failure, for decades, and riddled with corruption going back to HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson’s days, which resulted in his resignation, by the way, the reality is that I have no bone to pick with that. The simple and salient fact is that the weaponization of HUD’s FOIA process, for political gain and the protection of the few, has now begun to impact the educational process of the very underpaid personnel whom are forced into involuntary servitude at the leisure of Secretary Marcia Fudge.
In conclusion, while neither HUD nor their privately controlled fiefdoms have any love lost for me, it is a dangerous step to take in refusing to provide confirmation of FOIA submissions and the HUD FOIA Control Numbers. In fact, there is a reason why the US government has a series of checks and balances enshrined in our Constitution. And whether the confusion is that I wear several hats including those of Editor-in-Chief of Foreclosurepedia and the IAFST Press Secretary, the reality is that they are separate and distinct by and through domain branded email addresses for very specific reasons. If we need to ratchet up the requests expand beyond the benign request simply to work upon the education of Labor, which benefits HUD, remains unseen. Regardless, we will keep the Foreclosurepedia Nation in the loop!