The Houma-Terrebonne Housing Authority Board plans to appeal the federal government’s demand that board members repay their per diem pay.

The board was notified earlier this year that they had been illegally paid with federal money.

Some members owe almost $4,000, an expense that Board Chairman Barry Bonvillian says they should not be responsible for.

Interim Executive Director Nikita Gilton and some board members met with U.S. Housing and Urban Development officials at the field office in New Orleans about two months ago. Those officials said the board could appeal to the federal agency about the per diem payments.

On Thursday, the board authorized its attorney Jacob Dagate to meet with Bonvillian and write a letter explaining the situation to HUD.

“The board is not at fault and we request they will not have to pay,” Dagate said.

Each board members receives a $75 check for attending each board meeting. The practice was put into place in 2013, Bonvillian said.

The executive director at the time, Wayne Thibodeaux, was reportedly told by HUD that he could pay board members a per diem, but it could not be paid with federal money.

The practice continued under the next executive director, Joseph Thompson Jr., Bonvillian said.

“Those executive directors should be the one to pay it back,” he said.

Both Thibodeaux and Thompson were fired by the board. Gilton was hired as the interim executive director after Thompson was fired.

Staff Writer Julia Arenstam can be reached at 448-7636 or julia.arenstam@houmatoday.com. Follow her on Twitter at @gingerale214.