Questions raised about Moline Housing Authority director’s past

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In the wake of a less-than-stellar review of the Moline Housing Authority, there are some questions about John Afoun, the head of the authority, and his past job history.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development released its review recently, citing the Moline Housing Authority for 18 different violations, including asking for nearly a milllion dollars in grant money back, because it wasn't used properly.

HUD also cited concerns over insufficient accounting methods and oversight.

Now WQAD-TV has learned that Afoun came under fire at his last job as head of the Mexico, Missouri housing authority, when a local television station there uncovered discrepancies with two of his resumes.

One said he was a housing officer in London between 1995 and 2000.

Another said he was the CEO of a technology firm in California between 1998 and 2000. And a reference letter supposedly confirming he was the CEO at the firm was signed by a man identifying himself as the CEO, not Afoun.

The resume information contained conflicting dates, positions and titles that didn't jive.

''They were absolutely inconsistent. They had material differences in terms of dates and titles and positions held'', said Elizabeth Billingsley, an attorney and former reporter for KOMU-TV in Columbia, Missouri, and now a reporter in Ft. Myers, Florida.

"They were not the same resumes at all and if a person's life story is on a resume, his just did not add up," she said in a phone interview.

Afoun also racked up a $1,600 cell phone bill on his taxpayer-funded phone during one of his trips home to Africa. Much of the bill was roaming fees and personal calls.

"I was working in Africa with a company cell phone and I used it. When I came back, I paid for the portion I used, so there were no issues at all. Those trying to make issue are just malicious and envious," said Afoun about the incident, "I paid it back."

Later that year, Afoun left the Mexico, Missouri housing authority for the job in Moline.

Dan Adams, the former head of the Moline Housing Authority Board said he was aware of the resume differences and the phone bill incident, but says the City of Moline was going to do a background check and didn't notify the board of any big red flags.

Months later, Adams, who says he supported Afoun's hiring, later became concerned about some of Afoun's policies and questioned some of his spending.

"He was having birthday parties for employees and calling them meetings. Some lunches inappropriate, I thought," said Adams. "I wanted him terminated, but no one seconded my motion."

Adams was not re-appointed to the Housing Authority Board by the Mayor.

Afoun say the questions about his career have been raised and answered. Like the 18 violations, he said, people are makiing a mountain out of a molehill.

''The Housing Authority has been a high performer. We are not troubled''.