The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is being accused of retaliating against the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) over a deal involving former record producer Kenny Gamble (with Leon Huff they created The Sound of Philadelphia). Gamble has moved on from the music business and wanted a sweetheart deal on some real estate in Philadelphia, from my understanding of the case. With HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson in his corner Gamble was attempting to get land worth $2 million for far less than that amount. PHA objected and Jackson retaliated by withholding federal funds to the Housing Authority as punishment.
This scandal has the odor of corruption all over it and now Jackson is being accused of trying to stonewall the United States Senate. In a hearing this week about the matter HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson attempted to avoid answering questions by claiming he was under a judicial gag order. He was not. Carl Greene, Executive Director of PHA, has filed suit against HUD over the controversy.
"In the federal suit, filed in December, Greene contends that HUD is threatening to impose new controls on how Philadelphia spends millions in federal housing grants as payback for Greene's refusal to help Gamble.
Greene said the federal crackdown could force PHA to lay off hundreds of workers, raise rents, and halt millions of dollars in construction work on low-income housing."
This isn't the first time Bush's HUD has been accused of corruption:
"The FBI and the Justice Department, along with HUD's inspector general, reportedly are investigating allegations that he arranged lucrative HUD deals for his friends in New Orleans and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
In 2006, Jackson caused a stir when he told a Dallas audience he had once canceled a contract because the company's boss criticized Bush. He later apologized and said he made up the story."
Of course having Bush's Department of Justice investigate corruption within their own administration is having the fox guarding the hen house. No agency has been as politicized as DoJ. Meanwhile Philadelphia loses. PHA may have to furlough employees and there will be fewer affordable housing choices available for the poor during a time when the chasm between rich and poor in this country is growing ever wider. It brings new meaning to the song "Backstabbers." Guess who's getting the shaft?