Carl Greene, Former Executive Director of PHA, Wouldn't Get a Dime

Philadelphia has a long history of fallen politicians and those hoping to receive benefits from those people elected to office.  A short list includes Leland Beloff, Jimmy Tayoun, Corey Booker, Ron White, Rick Mariano and Shamsideen Ali.  We have become famous for the shakedown.  Two Philadelphia politicians who paid the price for transgressions committed while holding Commonwealth of PA positions include Vince Fumo and John Perzel.  I guess the campaign promises for honest government quickly fall by the wayside as the power slowly starts to corrupt.  State Representative Dwight Evans has been humbled by his unwillingness to play by established rukes.

Carl Greene is currently suing the Philadelphia Housing Authority and in a sense, taxpayers of Philadelphia, for wrongful termination.  He and former Mayor John Street have been at odds this week in court over who dropped kick who while both were still in position.  Carl Greene has alleged that then Chairman of the Board Street ordered PHA to hire a law firm, Wolf Block, at which his son, Sharif Street, was employed.  He also indicates that the Chairman forced him to hire an assistant, Kafi Lindsay, even though the Chairman position was part time.  These ancillary rumbles don't tell the true picture of why Carl Greene was fired though.

Mr. Greene was fired based on the fact that he settled at least five sexual harassment lawsuits without informing the Board of Directors about it.  Each on of the lawsuits was settled under a certain financial threshold that was at least $200,000.00.  Carl Greene knew exactly what he was doing when he settled.  The real question I would like answered is why didn't he use his own money to settle.  Many women have alleged that he groped or ogled them in a lascivious manner.  He was the Wielder of Power and if his advances were spurned a woman could be transferred to an outpost like Abbottsford Homes or terminated.  It didn't matter whether a woman was married or single, Mr. Greene was an equal opportunity harasser.

HUD was also concerned about the exorbitant amount of Mr. Greene's legal spending.  HUD wanted to perform a routine inspection of some completed housing and Mr. Greene made sure that two attorneys, who didn't work for less than $225.00 an hour, followed them around at all times.  At one point, PHA was spending almost $30 million a year in legal fees.  An in house counsel would have saved the city a tremendous amount of money.  I know there are a lot of law firms whose bottom lines are hurting now that the PHA gravy train has slowed to a halt.

I feel that the Board of Directors was duped by Carl Greene.  Each Board member had a fiduciary responsibility to ensure that the federal funding being awarded to help low income people have quality affordable housing in Philadelphia.  Under Carl Greene's leadership, an extensive amount of housing was built.  There are also tales of lavish parties with belly dancers.  also, Carl Greene taxed his managers and extra amount out of each paycheck to fund these parties and leadership outings.  There were a number of expensive gifts given to Managers that HUD moved to recoup during its findings.  A sad reality in Philadelphia is that the need for affordable housing is still at an unacceptable high level.  I don't blame Carl Greene for this but his efforts to attract the affections of women who didn't want it cost us almost $1 million.

I hope the lawyers for PHA are not in a mood to settle.  Mr. Greene has recounted this week how he was one of eight children that grew up in an impoverished section of Washington, DC.  He said he had a fire in his belly to be different than the people he encountered growing up.  He also said he suffers from depression and has sought mental counseling.  Many people could go back to loveless childhoods when accused of misusing public funds.  I feel that in this situation, Mr. Greene, who was earning almost $300,000.00 a year at the height of his power, could have found a woman who was willing to go out with him.  Forcing affections on unwilling victims once could be the grounds for a written warning.  Doing it numerous times is definitely grounds for dismissal without a severance package.

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