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HUD Official Begins Role At Helm Of Philadelphia Housing Authority

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The chief operating officer of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development has attended her first Philadelphia Housing Authority meeting since the recent federal takeover of the PHA.

Estelle Richman, who still calls Philadelphia home although her work is based in Washington, is now the sole member of the PHA’s board.  Previously, a five-member PHA board voted on items. Now, she’s the “Board of Commissioner.”

“This resolution is approved, moved, passed, voted yes. OK, I’ll get used to this,” she said during one proceeding today.

Richman previously put in stints as Philadelphia’s health commissioner (under then-mayor Ed Rendell), city managing director (under John Street), and secretary of public welfare (during Rendell’s time as governor of Pennsylvania).

After the meeting, we asked about Washington, DC’s image of the PHA under the controversial reign of PHA’s former executive director, Carl Greene.

“It was two-edged,” says Richman.  “This was a strong housing authority.  It did a lot of wonderful things.  On the other hand, we found out how money was being used that we’re continuing to investigate.”

After Greene was fired (see previous story), several federal agencies began looking into how the PHA spent its money (see related story). HUD investigators are in the midst of a forensic audit (another related story).

Reported by Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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  • Barbara

    The change in management and oversight is overdue but encouraging. This will only be a surface change (a.k.a public face image) if the policies and procedures as well as laws are not changed to ensure taxpayer monies are not abused in the present and future. Those that sit on PHA’s board as well as the executive director must be made legally liable and bonded just as those in the finance business are required to be bonded.Taxpayers have a right to know the final amount of monies that were mismanaged and if legal action to recoup lost funds are not able to be obtained from the previous Board members as well as Executive director then a law needs to be written that will enable such action now.

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