Audit takes issue with free parking for state workers

LANSING, Mich. (AP) – An audit says a Michigan agency used more than $330,000 in federal anti-blight and mortgage relief funds to provide free parking for contract employees in downtown Lansing.

The audit released Friday by the inspector general for the Trouble Asset Relief Program, or TARP, recommends the Michigan State Housing Development Authority be required to pay back the money.

State agency spokeswoman Katie Bach defended the spending, saying it was “essential to meet staffing levels required for the important work of helping families in Michigan avoid foreclosure.” She says previous audits found no problem with the expense.

Bach said the agency will review the audit and figure out what to do next under U.S. Department of Treasury guidance.

The number of employees receiving the benefit has fluctuated between 65 to nearly 100.

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