PHA’s Asia Coney pays restitution in 1987 benefits case

Posted: June 28, 2012

Twenty-five years after she was charged with welfare fraud, Asia Coney, a tenant leader in the Philadelphia Housing Authority, has paid restitution of $2,974.50 for the offense.

In 1987, Coney, known at the time as Lillian Coney, was one of 34 current and former city employees accused of collecting state welfare benefits while on the city payroll.

The city's probation department sued Coney in 1993 for not paying restitution - and finally collected its fine this week.

Coney was in the Criminal Justice Center briefly Wednesday to settle the matter.

Later in the day, Coney attended PHA's board meeting, but would not comment about her restitution or the delayed payment.

According to sources, Coney was ordered to pay the fine and appear in court last week. She made four payments between June 19 and Tuesday.

Coney was a close ally of Carl R. Greene, who was fired as PHA executive director in 2010 after the disclosure that the agency had secretly settled three sexual harassment complaints against him, with a fourth one pending. At the time, Coney was head of an affiliated nonprofit, Tenant Support Services Inc. (TSSI). She was paid a salary of $108,000 while still living in public housing.

After Greene's departure, a federal grand jury subpoenaed the records of TSSI and Coney's e-mails. PHA cut off funding for the nonprofit, which now is inactive.

Coney also is the nonpaid president of the Resident Advisory Board, an umbrella group for tenant councils.

Last month, PHA was set to award the group a three-year contract of $510,000 to work with tenant councils, including mediating disputes, organizing elections, and sponsoring programs to empower residents. But the board of PHA, which is controlled by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, tabled the matter at the last minute.


Contact Jennifer Lin at 215-854-5659 or jlin@phillynews.com, or follow on Twiter @j_linq.

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