Valmarie Turner and Jessica Parrish, the two West Palm Beach city employees who found accounting discrepancies in a low-income housing partnership between the city and the giant Redemptive Life Fellowship church are resigning their positions, Gossip Extra has learned.
Turner, the head of the city’s housing division, is headed for a similar job in Seminole County. Parrish, Turner’s assistant in WPB, says she’s taking a job near her Jupiter home.
Turner is leaving barely a year after being hired to clean up the division. She figured out this summer that Redemptive Life, which received $1.6 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to build homes for low-income owners in the Coleman Park neighborhood, wasn’t accounting for the funds properly.
In addition to the $1.6 million, the city could be on-the-hook for another $2.5 million in proceeds from the sale of the homes.
But what Turner also found out is that Redemptive Life Bishop Harold Ray and other church higher-ups may have been lining their pockets with the taxpayers’ money.
In a press conference last week, Ray denied taking money, although he admitted receiving a salary from the grants. He added that the discrepancies in accounting depended on the city’s interpretation of the contract.
“Valmarie had been talking to Seminole County for two months,” said City Spokesman Chase Scott. “It’s a bigger job with a higher salary.”
The moves come at a time when HUD sleuths are poring over thousands of pages of expenses filed by the church with the city.
After Gossip Extra broke news of the scandal two weeks ago, city commissioners asked for an investigation of how the story was leaked. They yet have to order an investigation into whether city employees, including several with ties to the church, failed to monitor properly the church’s spending.
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