Nolan Atkinson leaves Ethics Board

Attorney Nolan N. Atkinson Jr., a widely respected attorney who helped mend relations with City Council as a member of the Board of Ethics, has resigned his position with the Ethics Board after seven months.

In a letter to Mayor Nutter on Monday, Atkinson said his resignation was brought on by the "possibility of a conflict arising" between Duane Morris, the firm at which he is a partner, and the Ethics Board. The concern arose over Duane Morris' representation of the Philadelphia Housing Authority, though it was not immediately clear what such a conflict would be. 

"Although currently I am aware of no conflict of interest that has arisen during my tenure, I cannot predict future events arising from current investigations," Atkinson wrote.

The Housing Authority is currently under criminal investigation by the FBI and HUD Inspector General, and HUD is also performing a thorough audit of its operations in connection with former executive director Carl Greene. Greene was fired by the board last month following revelations of three sexual harassment claims against Greene that were settled without the board's knowledge, and a fourth proposed settlement of a claim that was pending when the board first suspended Greene in August.

Duane Morris partner Robert L. Archie Jr.  has represented PHA extensively. 

Atkinson's appointment to the board in March was welcomed by City Council members, who created the board but thae bristled under its approach to enforcement. With Atkinson on the board, Council worked with the Ethics Board on an ethics reform package passed in June.

The five member Board of Ethics is now down two positions with the resignation of Kenya Mann Faulkner in June. City officials say they are actively looking for replacements.

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