BREAKING: PHA Board Puts Greene on Leave, Launches Investigation

PHA board members Jannie Blackwell, Nellie Reynolds and John Street during Thursday's public meeting. (Sarah J. Glover / Staff Photographer)

The Philadelphia Housing Authority board of commissioners has unanimously voted to place Executive Director Carl R. Greene on paid leave, pending the results of an internal investigation, PhillyClout has learned.

Greene has been under fire since news broke two weeks ago that his condo was in foreclosure. Since then, details have emerged about four sexual harassment claims filed against Greene and questions have been raised about the agency's fiscal management. Three of the sexual harassment claims have been settled for a combined $648,000, and PHA's insurer agreed last week to a $250,000 payment in the fourth.

"We’re not going to conduct a witch hunt here and we’re not going to engage in a cover-up here," said former Mayor John F. Street, who serves as chairman of the five-member board. "There is no member of this authority who would tolerate sexual harassment."

Street has denied any knowledge of the harassment claims. Asked how he didn't know, Street said: "that’s a legitimate question folks, let me tell you."

"[Greene] could have built a billion houses but if he sexually harassed one woman, one woman, he’s gone," Street said.

Greene, who earns $306,000, has been absent from work on a self-imposed medical leave. His attorney, Clifford Haines, wrote to the board this week, asking them to hold off on any action while Greene is "undergoing medical diagnosis and treatment outside Pennsylvania

"There is, with all respect to you, an anxious rush to judgment here because it is scintillating when a public official appears to have done things," Haines said earlier today. 

Board members have been provided with a detailed explanation of how Greene's contract could be terminated. He can be fired for "cause," which could include "willful and intentional misconduct, recklessness, gross negligence and a failure to substantially perform his duties."

But Greene's contract appears to provide some cover in cases resulting from his "incapacity or illness." Haines' letter to Street could be the first maneuver in making such a point.

Greene can also be fired for criminal acts committed to garner "substantial gain or personal enrichment at PHA's expense."