Title 24

SECTION 570.496

570.496 Remedies for noncompliance; opportunity for hearing.

§ 570.496 Remedies for noncompliance; opportunity for hearing.

(a) General. Action pursuant to this section will be taken only after at least one of the corrective or remedial actions specified in § 570.495 has been taken, and only then if the State or unit of general local government has not made an appropriate or timely response.

(b) Remedies. (1) If HUD finds after reasonable notice and opportunity for hearing that a State or unit of general local government has failed to comply with any provision of this subpart, until HUD is satisfied that there is no longer failure to comply, HUD shall:

(i) Terminate payments to the state;

(ii) Reduce payments for current or future grants to the state by an amount equal to the amount of CDBG funds distributed or used without compliance with the requirements of this subpart;

(iii) Limit the availability of payments to the state to activities not affected by the failure to comply or to activities designed to overcome the failure to comply;

(iv) Based on the state's failure to comply with a requirement of this subpart (other than the state's current failure to comply which will affect the use of the succeeding year grant), condition the use of the grant funds upon appropriate corrective action by the state specified by HUD; or

(v) With respect to a CDBG grant awarded by the state to a unit of general local government, withhold, reduce, or withdraw the grant, require the state to withhold, reduce, or withdraw the grant, or take other action as appropriate, except that CDBG funds expended on eligible activities shall not be recaptured or deducted from future CDBG grants to such unit of general local government.

(2) HUD may on due notice suspend payments at any time after the issuance of a notice of opportunity for hearing pursuant to paragraph (d) of this section, pending such hearing and a final decision, to the extent HUD determines such action necessary to prevent a continuation of the noncompliance.

(c) In lieu of, or in addition to, the action authorized by paragraph (b) of this section, if HUD has reason to believe that the state or unit of general local government has failed to comply substantially with any provision of this subpart, HUD may:

(1) Refer the matter to the Attorney General of the United States with a recommendation that an appropriate civil action be instituted; and

(2) Upon such a referral, the Attorney General may bring a civil action in any United States district court having venue thereof for such relief as may be appropriate, including an action to recover the amount of the CDBG funds which was not expended in accordance with this subpart, or for mandatory or injunctive relief.

(d) Proceedings. When HUD proposes to take action pursuant to this section, the respondent in the proceedings will be the state. At the option of HUD, a unit of general local government may also be a respondent. These procedures are to be followed before imposition of a sanction described in paragraph (b)(1) of this section:

(1) Notice of opportunity for hearing. HUD shall notify the respondent in writing of the proposed action and of the opportunity for a hearing. The notice shall be sent to the respondent by first class mail and shall provide notice:

(i) In a manner which is adequate to allow the respondent to prepare its response, the basis upon which HUD determined that the respondent failed to comply with a provision of this subpart;

(ii) That the hearing procedures are governed by these rules;

(iii) That the respondent has 14 days from receipt of the notice within which to provide a written request for a hearing to the Docket Clerk, Office of Administrative Law Judges, and the address and telephone number of the Docket Clerk;

(iv) Of the action which HUD proposes to take and that the authority for this action is § 570.496 of this subpart;

(v) That if the respondent fails to request a hearing within the time specified, HUD's determination that the respondent failed to comply with a provision of this subpart shall be final and HUD may proceed to take the proposed action.

(2) Initiation of hearing. The respondent shall be allowed 14 days from receipt of the notice within which to notify HUD in writing of its request for a hearing. If no request is received within the time specified, HUD's determination that the respondent failed to comply with a provision of this subpart shall be final and HUD may proceed to take the proposed action.

(3) Administrative Law Judge. Proceedings conducted under these rules shall be presided over by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), appointed as provided by section 11 of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 3105). The case shall be referred to the ALJ by HUD at the time a hearing is requested. The ALJ shall promptly notify the parties of the time and place at which the hearing will be held. The ALJ shall conduct a fair and impartial hearing and take all action necessary to avoid delay in the disposition of proceedings and to maintain order. The ALJ shall have all powers necessary to those ends, including but not limited to the power:

(i) To administer oaths and affirmations;

(ii) To issue subpoenas as authorized by law;

(iii) To rule upon offers of proof and receive relevant evidence;

(iv) To order or limit discovery before the hearing as the interests of justice may require;

(v) To regulate the course of the hearing and the conduct of the parties and their counsel;

(vi) To hold conferences for the settlement or simplification of the issues by consent of the parties;

(vii) To consider and rule upon all procedural and other motions appropriate in adjudicative proceedings; and

(viii) To make and file initial determinations.

(4) Ex parte communications. An ex parte communication is any communication with an ALJ, direct or indirect, oral or written, concerning the merits or procedures of any pending proceeding which is made by a party in the absence of any other party. Ex parte communications are prohibited except where the purpose and content of the communication have been disclosed in advance or simultaneously to all parties, or the communication is a request for information concerning the status of the case. Any ALJ who receives an ex parte communication which the ALJ knows or has reason to believe is unauthorized shall promptly place the communication, or its substance, in all files and shall furnish copies to all parties. Unauthorized ex parte communications shall not be taken into consideration in deciding any matter in issue.

(5) The hearing. All parties shall have the right to be represented at the hearing by counsel. The ALJ shall conduct the proceedings in an expeditious manner while allowing the parties to present all oral and written evidence which tends to support their respective positions, but the ALJ shall exclude irrelevant, immaterial or unduly repetitious evidence. HUD has the burden of proof in showing by a preponderance of evidence that the respondent failed to comply with a provision of this subpart. Each party shall be allowed to cross-examine adverse witnesses and to rebut and comment upon evidence presented by the other party. Hearings shall be open to the public. So far as the orderly conduct of the hearing permits, interested persons other than the parties may appear and participate in the hearing.

(6) Transcripts. Hearings shall be recorded and transcribed only by a reporter under the supervision of the ALJ. The original transcript shall be a part of the record and shall constitute the sole official transcript. Respondents and the public, at their own expense, shall obtain copies of the transcript.

(7) The ALJ's decisions. At the conclusion of the hearing, the ALJ shall give the parties a reasonable opportunity to submit proposed findings and conclusions and supporting reasons therefor. Generally, within 60 days after the conclusion of the hearing, the ALJ shall prepare a written decision which includes a Statement of findings and conclusions, and the reasons or basis therefor, on all the material issues of fact, law or discretion presented on the record and the appropriate sanction or denial thereof. The decision shall be based on consideration of the whole record or those parts thereof cited by a party and supported by and in accordance with the reliable, probative, and substantial evidence. A copy of the decision shall be furnished to the parties immediately by first class mail and shall include a notice that any requests for review by the Secretary must be made in writing to the Secretary within 30 days of the receipt of the decision.

(8) Record. The transcript of testimony and exhibits, together with the decision of the ALJ and all papers and requests filed in the proceeding, constitutes the exclusive record for decision and, on payment of its reasonable cost, shall be made available to the parties. After reaching the initial decision, the ALJ shall certify to the complete record and forward the record to the Secretary.

(9) Review by the Secretary. The decision by the ALJ shall constitute the final decision of HUD unless, within 30 days after the receipt of the decision, either the respondent or the Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development files an exception and request for review by the Secretary. The excepting party must transmit simultaneously to the Secretary and the other party the request for review and the bases of the party's exceptions to the findings of the ALJ. The other party shall be allowed 30 days from receipt of the exception to provide the Secretary and the excepting party with a written reply. The Secretary shall then review the record of the case, including the exceptions and the reply. On the basis of such review, the Secretary shall issue a written determination, including a Statement of the rationale therefor, affirming, modifying or revoking the decision of the ALJ. The Secretary's decision shall be made and transmitted to the parties within 60 days after the decision of the ALJ was furnished to the parties.

(10) Judicial review. The respondent may seek judicial review of HUD's decision pursuant to section 111(c) of the Act.

[74 FR 4636, Jan. 26, 2009]