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Baltimore’s public housing agency faces inquiry

WASHINGTON — A U.S. senator says he has started an inquiry into Baltimore’s public housing agency.

Sen. Charles Grassley on Thursday sent a letter requesting documents from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In the letter, the Iowa Republican asks for documentation on how the Housing Authority of Baltimore City used $67 million in stimulus funds. It also requests billing statements from law firms to the housing authority going back to 2003.

The Baltimore Sun recently reported that the authority has paid outside lawyers about $4 million since 2005 to fight lead-paint poisoning cases, with bills totaling $228,000 for May and June alone. The authority has refused to pay nearly $12 million from lawsuits filed by people exposed to lead paint.

The newspaper first reported on Grassley’s letter.

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