Friday, October 05, 2007

HUD and HANO

Last week, m.d. filter, pistolette, and wecouldbefamous discussed the city's decision to move forward with the demolition of four large public housing developments. Although it was far from the main point in my post, in an aside, I insinuated that demolition at this juncture is particularly objectionable when one considers the ethical records of both HANO and HUD.

Now, unfortunately, there is some fresh evidence of that. Today's Times-Picayune reports on a fresh FBI investigation into HUD chief Alphonso Jackson's intervention on behalf of a construction contractor bff, William Hairston, who was later awarded a no-bid emergency contract. From the Times-Pic:

A Jackson spokesman acknowledged that Hairston is the secretary's friend, but said Hairston was only one of three potential construction managers Jackson passed along for consideration by HANO.

Nadine Jarmon, whose company contracted with HUD to oversee HANO when Hairston became the agency's construction manager, said she never saw three names. She said she assumed Hairston had connections in Washington because it was HUD headquarters that had referred him to her deputy...

Jackson's assertion that "I don't touch contracts" in front of a Senate panel last May might come back to haunt him.

Of course of course, this is not the first time that Alphonso Jackson has come under fire for his stewardship of HUD. In 2006, he explained how he canceled contracts heading toward individuals critical of President Bush.

"He didn't get the contract," Jackson continued. "Why should I reward someone who doesn't like the president, so they can use funds to try to campaign against the president? Logic says they don't get the contract. That's the way I believe."

The ensuing investigation has determined that Jackson routinely steered contracts toward Bush allies, but that Jackson's own employees often disobeyed those directives.

HUD, lest we forget, has an awe-inspiring record of corruption, notably under the Reagan Administration. Republicans, ideologically, oppose the existence of HUD in the first place. So New Orleans residents can be super-duper proud that HUD, in 2002, as pistolette reminds us, swallowed HANO's local authority because HANO was such an embarrassment.

So no, I am not excited to have HUD and HANO moving forward with demolition plans.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

how ironic that you go thru all of this nonsense and fail to mention all of the corruption that took place at HUD during the Clinton Administration. How easy it is to have selective memory. Additionally, has anyone taking time to question, what does it mean to get an "emergency contract?" Day after day, we watched people in New Orleans rant about how Washington wasnt doing anything, or enough to resolve or respond to the issues. So the work commences, and now you want to claim that it's unfair as to how it came about. Does anyone care or at least take time to ask if the contractors are QUALIFIED and DID THE WORK GET DONE PROPERLY? Or are we so simple that we want to limit the discussion to which side of the political isle your on.