PHA’s Greene apologizes ‘to the world’

Posted: August 20, 2010

In his first interview since revelations about financial problems surfaced last Friday, Philadelphia Housing Authority executive director Carl R. Greene said he "offered my most humble apologies to the world."

After news broke about his bank foreclosing on his mortgage, Greene said he retreated to his $615,000 townhouse in the Naval Square development, not taking calls from friends and colleagues or going to work.

"I just felt personal humiliation and embarrassment over my finances," Greene, 53, said in a 45-minute telephone interview. "I was very stressed out about it and needed a couple of days to gather myself."

Greene said the move last December by the Internal Revenue Service to place a $52,000 lien for unpaid non-PHA income triggered "a lot of personal anxiety in my life."

The PHA director said he paid off the lien in March because the IRS action locked up his finances. But he said he has hired an accountant to challenge the lien. "I haven't been doing any outside work," he said. "We're trying to find out what records the IRS has and see what they have to say."

The IRS action, Greene said, "created a lot of personal anxiety." "That froze me," Greene said. "It caused me to lose focus on all other things."

That included paying his mortgage. He said in a statement last Wednesday that he had covered his overdue payments.

The disclosure of his problems, Greene said, is "a relief."

"I'm dealing with it, I'm addressing it," Greene said.

In talking about the last week, Greene sounded subdued, speaking more slowly than is typical.

As a single man, Greene said his life was out of balance and too much about work. "I'm subject to my own personal failings," he said.

Greene said the attention on his financial and tax problems triggered others to "pile on" with complaints and accusations about his management of the housing authority.

In particular, a 29-year-old woman, Elizabeth Helm, has recently charged Greene with sexual harassment in complaints with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Greene denied making unwanted sexual advances. He said in his career there have been "four or five" other complaints against him as a manager - not all sexual harassment charges.

He said he never personally settled a complaint, but that insurance carriers for housing agencies - here and elsewhere - typically settle cases to avoid litigation.

The events of the last week, Greene said, will not affect his management of the housing agency.

"Nobody said there's a connection between my personal failings and my PHA stewardship," Greene said.


Contact staff writer Jennifer Lin at 215-854-5659 or jlin@phillynews.com

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