Numerous news sources are reporting this morning that the Philadelphia Housing Authority has sued HUD secretary Alphonso Jackson, saying the HUD chief is taking ‘retaliatory action’ against the city for failing to arrange a transfer of property to a friend and business associate. From the WaPo:
The authority’s director, Carl Greene, contends in a court affidavit that Jackson called Philadelphia’s mayor in 2006 to demand the transfer to the developer, Kenny Gamble, a former soul-music songwriter who is a business friend of Jackson’s. Jackson’s aides followed up with “menacing” threats about the property and other housing programs in at least a dozen letters and phone calls over an 11-month period, Greene said in an interview. Greene and his colleagues have alleged in the court filing that Philadelphia is now paying a severe price for disobeying a Bush Cabinet official. The Department of Housing and Urban Development recently vowed to strip the city’s housing authority of its ability to spend some federal funds, a move that the authority said could raise rents for most of its 84,000 low-income tenants and force the layoffs of 250 people.
HUD, for its part, is denying the allegations and put out a press statement on Monday morning saying that it was “no coincidence that this article appeared now, when efforts to resolve this discrimination case with the Philadelphia Housing Authority are coming to a head.” “We stand by our efforts to help the low-income disabled citizens of Philadelphia get the housing that they need and deserve, and it would be unfair to those residents for this case to be tried in the press,” the department said.