Feds Confirm Myriad City Conflicts Of Interest, Suspend CDBG Funds

In a brutal rebuke to the City of Great Falls, and to Commissioner Bill Bronson in particular, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development suspended funding related to the City’s CDBG program. In a letter addressed to the City (originally published by The Electric), HUD declared the following with respect to Bronson:

“Carol Bronson’s relationship to Bill Bronson and her position with NeighborWorks Great Falls creates a conflict of interest, because of the exposure to “inside information” and potential for financial benefit for herself and the organization.”

For years, loathsome “naysayers” who had the audacity to ask questions citizens have crowed that Bronson should step aside from these matters, and not participate in Commission business that awarded money to NWGF, where his wife, Carol, is employed.

Each time, Bronson would shoot back at his critics in defiant fashion and vote to approve funding for NWGF. Why not just recuse yourself?

Now that HUD has heard the “case,” it turns out that Bronson, always “the smartest guy in the room,” probably should have listened to his hoi polloi constituents.

NWGF was slated to receive $82,903 “for the construction of high school homes with Great Falls High and C.M. Russell High School,” according to The Electric. But no, Bronson just had to participate, didn’t he?

Now, NeighborWorks Great Falls will get nothing.

And that’s not the half of it.

Stay tuned.

Reader interactions

10 Replies to “Feds Confirm Myriad City Conflicts Of Interest, Suspend CDBG Funds”

  1. I don’t believe either Carol or Bill had any thoughts of getting info about NWGF to help decision to give NWGF or GF funds for any other reason than to improve our city People with this decision have tunnel vision and should relook at the decision


    1. Common sense alone would dictate that you recuse yourself if it even hints at a conflict of interest situation, let alone a direct link to one. Public perception is everything when you’re in a high profile/high visibility position.


    2. I have to agree with Dori, I don’t believe the Bronson’s had any ill intension and both want to improve GF.


  2. Dori- Do you believe NWGF is the only worthy charity helping the poor with housing in Great Falls and therefore the only possible recipient? There are rules and ethical standards for a reason. This citizen and others I hear. doesn’t have the power to look into the soles of politicians to decide if they are behaving properly, because of this elected officials are suppose to avoid even the appearance of a conflict. Clearly Bronson has not done this several times. Rick is write that Bronson has berated people for even questioning his impartiality. Under this mayor it has only gotten worse, when the ethics of the commission are questioned. Many question how NWGF became our communities largest developer, asking anyone in the building trades in private what they think about the rules they operate under in contrast to those that NWGF enjoys and you will get an ear full.


  3. Interesting news, sad to hear about this conflict of interest. For some reason, I believe it.


  4. It’s just the tip of the iceberg….


  5. The appearance of impropriety can be just as bad, if not worse, than actual impropriety. Mr. Bronson recusing himself should have been a no-brainer.


    1. This.

      Hubris is a hell of a thing, Rick. And Bill Bronson has no shortage of it.


  6. It will be interesting to see how the city approaches their request for a conflict of interest exception since this is required as part of the “Corrective Actions” required. That it has come to this is silly and the fact that repayment of funds from 2012-17 with interest is a possible outcome is absurd.


  7. […] news site. Unfortunately, she seems a little upset with us today. This morning we ran a story about HUD coming down on various conflicts of interest within the city’s CDBG program. We pointed to information (including the letter from HUD, a public document) that was posted on […]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *