Philly housing chief handed out $800 Tumi luggage to staffers at conference

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Former Philadelphia Housing Authority head Carl R. Greene was apparently very generous with taxpayer monies until he was fired last September, after its governing board learned that his agency secretly paid out $648,000 in sexual harassment claims brought on by his behavior, and at least three more were pending.

Since then, 10 lawsuits have been filed against the housing agency and Greene, ranging from sexual harassment to wrongful termination. Greene meanwhile, has fired back with his own lawsuit, claiming he was unjustly terminated.

On Wednesday, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on Greene’s largess, saying that in 2009 he handed out $800 Tumi duffel bags to 20 staffers attending an annual PHA conference.

After hearing of the gifts, Interim Executive Director Michael P. Kelly sent an email to staff telling them to return the bags on Thursday, unless they wished to purchase them for a discounted price. Even though they are more than a year old, the agency said it will try to return the bags to Nordstrom, where they were purchased.

“Please understand that I am not criticizing you for accepting this item, but I do want to make a statement that the gift was not an appropriate expenditure of PHA funds,” he wrote in the email.  “Whatever money we may get for the bags will go back into the agency’s general fund.”

He also went on to tell them that it was inappropriate for employees to accept gifts of any value as part of their job.

The Philadelphia Inquirer

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