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Landlord Accused of Getting Paid Twice for Same Apartments



    Landlord Accused of Getting Paid Twice for Same Apartments

    Section 8 housing is a program that helps more than a million and a half families across the country afford rent. But the way one South Florida landlord was processing Section 8 housing vouchers prompted a federal investigation that lasted almost two years.

    (Published Wednesday, May 10, 2017)

    A landlord who owns 11 buildings will no longer be able to do business with Miami-Dade Public Housing after an investigation concluded that he had been violating HUD regulations.

    Edward Daniel receives about $120,000 a month in Section 8 vouchers from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, according to his attorney. 120 tenants live in the 11 buildings he owns throughout Miami-Dade, Miami Beach and Hialeah.

    “The most egregious or most disturbing was the fact that he accepted payments from two housing authorities for the same unit for extended periods of time,” said Michael Liu, Miami-Dade Public Housing Director.

    For almost two years, HUD investigators have been looking at Daniel’s business practices after the NBC 6 Investigators inquired about a tip with allegations of serious irregularities going on at a building in Miami that had been approved to receive Section 8 vouchers.

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    Isabel Soto called NBC 6 because she was being evicted. She says she was unknowingly subletting from one of Daniel’s Section 8 voucher tenants for $600 a month.

    A HUD spokesperson said they couldn’t find substantial documentation to prove her case, but said her testimony led them in a different direction.

    “You know, as the old saying goes, maybe when there’s smoke, there’s fire,” said Liu. “Unfortunately, we found some bad fires there.”

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    In a letter to Daniel, the county wrote they discovered that every month for seven months, he accepted $650 vouchers from Miami-Dade, while at the same time, accepting $652 vouchers from the Hialeah Housing Authority for the same unit.

    It went on to say he did the same for four months with another unit in Miami Beach.

    Reports show he accepted a $619 voucher from the county, and a $692 voucher from the Miami Beach Housing Authority simultaneously.

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    “It’s the taxpayer’s money,” said Liu. “It’s your money, my money.”

    There was one allegation Soto made that wasn’t disputed by Daniel.

    He had been charging some Section 8 tenants for reserved parking – something that’s not allowed by the HUD. His attorney told NBC 6 that Daniel has agreed to return that money, which amounts to less than $7,000. It’s part of a settlement with the U.S. Attorney’s office.

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    As for the HUD’s investigation, Director Liu says he has seen enough.

    “We will no longer approve of any leases with this landlord,” Liu said.

    Daniel declined to speak with NBC 6 on camera.

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    But in a statement, his attorney, Bill Tunkey, wrote in part, “Over the years, there have been multiple occasions that an apartment came vacant - tenant dies, tenant moves elsewhere, etc. - and promptly the housing authority would get a call or an in-person visit from Ed alerting the housing authorities that there was a change of tenant. Our often-understaffed, hard-working housing authority personnel did their best to expeditiously update their records, but sometimes these updates didn't get entered to the payment database before the following month's payment to the Daniel's had already been sent. As soon as Ed realized that an overpayment situation still needed correction, he repeated the alert. Usually in a phone call; sometimes in person. Regardless, once the housing authority had entered the correction into its payment database, it reconciled the debits and credits in their mutual account, deducted any such overpayments from the next month's payment of rents, and squared up the account.”

    Daniel’s attorney described him as an old school businessman who made calls instead of sending e-mails or certified mail. He told NBC 6, as part of their settlement, he plans on hiring an accountant to help him with his financial affairs.

    As for the Section 8 tenants, they will be allowed to stay in Daniel's units until their leases expire. After that, they may be required to find other units that accept their vouchers because HUD will no longer be approving new leases with Daniel.

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