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HUD Secretary Ben Carson swears in four new department leaders

Leaders join during critical recovery period

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development enlisted four new top leaders who will assume key roles in the agency.

HUD explained these leaders are stepping up at the start of the year during a critical recovery period following last year’s devastating hurricanes.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson administered the oath of office to these individuals, who were recently confirmed by the Senate: Leonard Wolfson as assistant secretary for congressional and intergovernmental relations, J. Paul Compton as HUD’s general counsel, Suzanne Israel Tufts as assistant secretary for the office of administration and Irving Dennis as chief financial officer, all pictured below, from left to right with Carson standing in the center.

“Today, our bench got a lot deeper,” said Secretary Carson. “These four outstanding individuals bring substantial experience to HUD at a moment when our Department is being called upon to excel as we support millions of our fellow citizens recovering from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.”

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HUD leaders

Compton will lead HUD’s office of general counsel which provides advice and services to all HUD programs and activities. OGC represents the department in litigation and enforcement actions, provides legal services in the development, preparation and presentation of the department's legislative initiatives, has primary responsibility for the development of HUD program regulations, represents the department in multifamily finance transactions and assists in the development of HUD programs and policies.

Compton holds legal expertise in the areas of multifamily affordable housing finance, tax credit transactions and mortgage securitization. He is a former partner of the law firm Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, and is listed by Chambers USA as one of America’s leading business lawyers on issues related to banking, finance and regulatory matters. Compton also served as a legal advisor to the Alabama Affordable Housing Association, a trade organization for developers, property managers, lenders, investors and service providers for affordable housing.

Tufts will serve as assistant secretary, and will lead HUD’s Office of Administration tasked with delivering administrative support and customer service to HUD employees nationwide. As HUD’s chief administrative officer, Tufts will oversee the department’s human resources, contract procurement and training needs.  A New York-based attorney with extensive experience in turnaround management, Assistant Secretary Tufts served in operational roles in the public and not-for-profit sectors, including public housing authorities in New York state.  Tufts is an expert in the field of social programming in inner cities including microenterprises, education and women’s issues. She formerly served as president and CEO of the American Woman’s Economic Development Corporation, the nation’s first women’s entrepreneurship training center.

Wolfson will serve as HUD’s assistant secretary of congressional and intergovernmental relations, and will work as the principal advisor to the secretary, deputy secretary and senior staff on legislative affairs, congressional relations and policy matters affecting federal, state and local governments, as well as public and private stakeholders.

Prior to his service at HUD, Wolfson served as associate vice president of legislative affairs for the Mortgage Bankers Association, where he helped the real estate finance industry recover from the financial crisis by advocating for a return to safe and sustainable lending. He previously served as HUD’s general deputy assistant secretary for congressional and intergovernmental relations during the George W. Bush administration.

Dennis will serve as HUD’s chief financial officer, and is responsible for employing sound financial management practices across all of the agency’s program areas. Dennis will oversee the accounting, budget and financial management for the agency’s budget and appropriations including processing millions of transactions each year to support HUD’s mission.

Prior to his public service, Dennis was a global client service partner with Ernst & Young, where he worked with several large multinational public companies in various industries. He also serves on several not-for-profit boards and has been a member of various accounting-related organizations.

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