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HUD Secretary Allegedly Intervened for Friend

POSTED: 12:34 PM ET, 02/ 4/2008 by The Editors

A recent court filing alleges that U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson intervened in a Philadelphia matter that involved a business friend, The Post's Carol D. Leonnig reports today. It is the latest allegation of favoritism by Jackson, who according to people familiar with the matter is under federal investigation for possible interference in the operations of housing authorities in New Orleans and the Virgin Islands.

The director of the Philadelphia Housing Authority, Carl Greene, contends in an affidavit that Jackson called Philadelphia's mayor in 2006 to demand that the agency transfer a $2 million public property to Kenny Gamble -- a former soul-music songwriter who is a business friend of Jackson's -- at a substantial discount, then retaliated against the housing authority when it refused to do so.

Greene said in an interview that 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.

Jackson's office said in a written statement that he could not comment on Greene's allegations because they are a subject of litigation.

Ed Pound of the National Journal first reported last fall that the FBI was examining the ties between Jackson and a golfing friend from Hilton Head, S.C., who was paid nearly half a million dollars by Jackson's department as a construction manager in New Orleans. A second article in December reported further details about the New Orleans matter and the federal investigation.

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.

The housing authority responded by filing a civil suit in December against HUD and Jackson, in which Greene claimed that the actions by Jackson's department are "retaliatory" and that the Bush administration has exaggerated the troubles it cited as grounds for stripping the funds. Greene said the developer failed to deliver on contracts, leading the housing agency to conclude that the transfer would be improper.

By The Editors |  February 4, 2008; 12:34 PM ET
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Surprise, surprise, yet another Bushie takes a scandelous fall. With less than 12 months left, these guys can't bother trying to end on a high note. So much for our MBA President's stellar management choices...I'm looking forward to 4 years of damage control from the next guy or girl in the nation's highest office.

Posted by: Waste and Abuse | February 4, 2008 3:06 PM

At least this is going to court.
In Minnesota, Gov. Pawlenty's judges throw out any suit against a friend of the GOP.
His 'Dept. Of Human Rights' won't even investigate complaints of discrimination.
We should ban the GOP like we did the Communist Party.

Posted by: Tor Ouellette | February 4, 2008 3:18 PM

The problem is not so much with the laws, as with the judges. The good news, thanks to www.USAjudges.com is; that's changing.

Fortunately, it's an election year as voters now have options, previously unavailable.

Individuals and attorneys can make a report on judges - bypassing the usually ineffective state commissions on judicial misconduct.

USAjudges.com verifies reports, a boon for reporters.

Separately, it should come as no surprise that judges really don't much like Open Courts. Regrettably in the example below of a client of mine, the reporter (Boomgard) failed his duty by answering Judge Cooper in the below transcript, instead of telling him he was not part of the proceeding or revealing how he got there. So much for the watchdog press.
(Page 10 Line 5)
http://www.directdemocracy.com/images/stories/april%2013%2C%202007%20hearing.pdf
and Page 13 Line 3)

Judge Cooper's take on the press, wasn't taken well. Judge Cooper added,

"But I do say up front that this tactic on your part speaks highly of manipulation."

The reality? Judge Cooper was angry his little plan to go along with the AG's maneuver, was exposed. However, once Judge Cooper realized he was being watched, he acted judiciously.

Opposite many anonymous sites, reports made at USAjudges.com - reference case numbers, opposing counsel, outside experts. Texas attorneys were first to recognize the impact these reports could make during an election year; and indeed, www.USAjudges.com already helped one judge on the bench eight years and running for reelection, return to private practice, instead.

Interestingly, because reports made at USAjudges.com are verified, in many instances, things come to light which press doesn't have time to explore.

In the case of Nebraska criminal court Judge Kristine Cecava, who refused to send an admitted child molester to prison because he was, short; (upheld on appeal)
http://www.journalstar.com/articles/2006/05/25/local/doc4474ed34cdca3829136003.txt

USAjudges.com went a step beyond traditional media, which likewise did not report Judge Cecava was no maverick judge. It was discovered Judge Cecava served as past president of the Nebraska Judges Association and, making her sentence stranger still; on the 'Task Force' to Protect Children - http://www2.csc.edu/eyh/speaker/speaker2000.asp

"Protect children from whom? Her?"

So the good news is victims of judicial abuse now have a way to bring their own accountability.

Reports are made on a good judge also. But either way, the reports can be made available to the press and watchdog groups; and then voters can decide whether to retain judges in office or not. No longer are people chained to attorney backed, or police backed lobbyists.

Posted by: Bonnie Russell | February 4, 2008 5:50 PM


There has not been any mention of this story in a single media entity in Philadelphia. If the Post had not reported this, the citizens of Philadelphia would have no idea this lawsuit even existed. Maybe, instead of bloviating about the NFL, the honorable Sen. Arlen Specter can help us understand why one of his major contributors is vindictively attacking the poor people of Philadelphia.
The Philadelphia media has been all over the lawsuit by musicians claiming Mr. Gamble stiffed them of the royalties they are owed. That Gamble must be a real nice guy.

Posted by: Patrick Huss | February 4, 2008 5:58 PM

None of this surprises me, Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) is a poor excuse for a low income property management organization. Individuals renting through CMHA are subjected to the poorest customer service ever, pest control is substandard/not at all, appliances are either ancient or in very poor condition (a tenant had a whole in a stove and a refrigerator that would not maintain proper temperature). One highrise apartment for the disabled is infested with bugs with no control in sight. One apartment complex housing children had open to the air asbestos (I took pictures of the asbestos for someone).

After reading this article, now I know why complaints are ignored. If anyone should happen to contact the Regional HUD office with a complaint, the employee providing poor customer service may retaliate by delay and/or failure to approve residential application.

With properly managed low income programs "Poverty can be a temporary condition". However the conditions presended in this comment often lead to attitudes of hopelessness, giving tenants the attitude of "If they don't care, why should we".

Posted by: steph | February 4, 2008 6:17 PM

Both parties, are corrupts individuals. Jackson instead of building greater neighborhood and helping the revitalize community was trying to fill up his packets with enough money before he leaves office. And Carl Greene took advantage of that by filling up his packets too plus has a salary of $265.000 higher than mayor of Philadelphia. Greene took so much money out of the Martin Luther King Revitalization project that he wasn't able to finish the project and wants to keep the land too. Here is a GREAT cases of corruption that they can't hide. This Administration is by far the WORST administration EVER...

Please Visit our site www.mlkplaza.org

R. Nasser

Posted by: R. Nasser | February 5, 2008 2:44 PM

R.Nasser, If you'd clicked the first link in this piece, you'd have gotten the 2nd part of the story ("HUD Chief Accused of Retaliation") which explained that the PHA only stepped in to finish the MLK Revitalization project when the initial developer (Pennrose Properties, which was partnered with Gamble's company to do the development) severed ties with them and walked out on the project with only 80 of the 236 units completed. PHA had to step in to help them finish the job. If anything, your complaints about cost overruns (which was one of the reasons PHA wouldn't turn the property to Gamble) only further shows that Jackson not only promotes cronyism, but incompetent cronyism.

Posted by: Xori Moline | February 6, 2008 1:36 PM

Who are you Xori Moline? I believe you are a Phantom Writer for Greene.

Posted by: Annonymous | February 9, 2008 12:22 AM

Who pays for the salary of the mayor of philadelphia? Unless its the federal government, there's absolutely no point in comparing it to carl green's salary, which is funded by HUD. last time i checked, the federal govt didn't pay individual cities or towns mayors...

just an observation.

Posted by: Liz | February 14, 2008 4:47 PM

Not sure we get your point....The initial point was that Carl Greene is NOT running the city so WHY should his paycheck be MORE THAN THE MAYORS? Its not because Greene is paid by the Federal Gov. and the Mayor is paid by the City. It is because the value system underlying the reason for the salaries is not title and/or position appropriate. So, it is fine to compare the salaries. And unless you are a Greene supporter and perhaps on his payroll, why are you so defensive?

Posted by: Anny | February 14, 2008 11:26 PM

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