"I think the sexual-harassment cases really change everything," Street said in an interview, when asked if Greene should remain as PHA executive director.
"There is a huge, huge issue here," Street said. "It's not like there was one case, or two cases or three cases, but four."
City Controller Alan Butkovitz, who appoints two members to the five-person board, said, "I don't think it's acceptable to have a person in a position of power being serially accused of sexual harassment."
"The board is taking aggressive action on this," he said.
A source familiar with the board's discussions said a majority had agreed to vote for Greene's suspension, as early as its next meeting Thursday, as a possible precursor to termination.
Until news broke two weeks ago that Greene faced foreclosure on his home, a federal tax lien on outside income and a sexual-harassment claim, the board had taken little heed of outside criticisms.
When Greene's leadership had come under scrutiny in the past, the agency had fought back hard, employing high-priced outside counsel and a public-relations firm. The board exercised little apparent oversight, with two of its members attending meetings only sporadically.
PHA spokesman Kirk Dorn said Tuesday that Greene was on leave receiving treatment for stress and could not be reached for comment.
Street said he was particularly upset that the board was kept in the dark about the harassment cases brought against Greene, 53.
"We should have known, and I'm going to find out why we didn't," he said.
Greene came to Philadelphia in 1998 from Detroit, where he also faced a sexual-harassment accusation.
Then-Mayor Rendell worked hard to woo him nonetheless, sending an attorney and a tenant leader to Detroit to investigate the allegations. Satisfied that Greene had done nothing improper, Rendell offered him PHA's top job. The Detroit case was settled out of court on the eve of a trial in 2000.
Three of the four harassment claims that have been filed here in Philadelphia have been settled with payments by PHA's insurance company.
The $250,000 settlement agreed to Friday came in the case of Elizabeth Helm, 29, a PHA interior designer whose accusation, disclosed two weeks ago, helped ignite the current firestorm over Greene's job performance.
Street said the board was never informed of either the complaints or the cash settlements.
A PHA spokesman has said board approval of the payments was not required because the checks were issued by the agency's insurance company. But PHA used its own cash to pay a $150,000 deductible, and Street said the board was never notified of that expenditure.
An expert in corporate governance expressed astonishment that agency managers would keep that information from the board.
"I think that's very strange," said Charles Elson, director of the University of Delaware's Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance.
"These claims are relevant to the board's evaluation of the person's performance," he said. "The fact that something like this would arise should be considered by the board - and considered very carefully. And you can only consider it carefully if you know about it."
Mayor Nutter, in an interview, said he found it "baffling that an insurance company . . . could make a quote-unquote settlement without some notification, some contact, some authorization, some action by the board of directors."
The three earlier sexual-harassment settlements were paid in 2005, 2007, and 2008.
The board in 2010 approved spending $6.8 million in premiums for insurance coverage from Housing Authority Insurance Group, a Connecticut-based nonprofit that has written PHA's coverage since 1999. Last year, the agency received a $1 million rebate because its claims were low.
Most of the premium went to insure PHA's real estate, but $533,000 was spent to cover PHA's officials, including Greene, against claims connected to their official duties.
For that, PHA obtained coverage of $2 million, with a $150,000 deductible. That means the premium was equal to almost 30 percent of the coverage.
Greene is one of the most powerful public officials in the city. His state-chartered agency is the largest landlord in Pennsylvania, housing 81,000 people in 32,000 units and spending $280 million on development projects. He is credited for shepherding through a number of major construction projects, and improving the agency's housing maintenance and management.
But he has also faced years of complaints that his management style was abrasive and dictatorial. Street acknowledged criticism that the PHA board has been too hands-off.
"You can always criticize the board," he said. "No one was criticizing us when we were building houses. If Carl hadn't gotten himself involved in this trouble, Carl would still be building houses, and we'd still be a good board.
"We wanted him to run his agency," said Street. "We weren't going to be micromanaging the executive director."
Greene is currently on a two-week leave, prompted by stress, he said last week.
Greene has also been grappling with disclosures that the IRS filed a lien against him for $52,000 in back taxes and that foreclosure proceedings were started against his $615,000 home.
He said the lien, now paid off, prevented him from making his condominium payments. His mortgage is now paid through October, he said.
Whether Greene will attend the board's monthly meeting, scheduled Thursday, is unknown. But for the first time in recent months, all of the PHA's board members are expected to appear.
One member, Debra Brady, who runs Philadelphia Writ Service Inc. and is the wife of U.S. Rep. Bob Brady (D., Pa.), the city's Democratic Party chairman, missed 11 of 15 board meetings held between February 2009 and this June.
Patrick J. Eiding, the head of the regional AFL-CIO, missed six of those meetings. Union members perform virtually all of PHA's construction and maintenance work.
Both of their seats are filled by Butkovitz, the city controller, who recently reappointed Brady. Eiding's current term is up next month. He hopes to continue on the board, said Butkovitz, who expressed dismay at Brady's and Eiding's frequent absences.
"It's not good. I'm on the [city] pension board, and I'm at every single meeting."
Eiding has not returned calls seeking comment.
A spokesman for Debra Brady said she has missed recent meetings because of her mother's illness, and missed meetings in 2008 because of back surgery. The spokesman, Ken Smukler, said Brady offered to step down from the board at that time.
Street and two other board members are regular attendees. They are City Council member Jannie L. Blackwell and Nellie Reynolds, a PHA tenant.
Blackwell said she did not want to take any immediate action.
"There will be something introduced pertaining to Carl Greene and his leadership," Blackwell said, but she wants to delay a vote until Greene returns from his leave.
"In the bigger picture, we don't have anyone who does what he does, and he's the only one moving housing in the recession," Blackwell said.
In 2002, HUD auditors ripped into PHA, saying that Greene had been unfair in his hiring practices, ignoring educational requirements and rules that jobs be put up for competition.
The audit also found that he was a "demanding supervisor" whose style had prompted some underlings to quit, though it said that his management approach did not violate federal or state law.
The auditors said their effort to dig into Greene's conduct had been met with stiff resistance from lawyers with the Ballard Spahr firm, outside counsel hired by PHA. The Ballard lawyers insisted on sitting in on the auditor interviews and restricted access to PHA board members.
Among other criticisms, HUD faulted Greene for hiring the daughter of PHA board member Reynolds, and for giving her a big raise just three weeks after putting her on the payroll.
Contact staff writer Nathan Gorenstein at 215-854-2797 or email@example.com.
Inquirer staff writers Chris Mondics, Jennifer Lin, John Sullivan, and Amy Worden contributed to this article.