Philadelphia Housing Authority Files Lawsuit Against Federal Housing Secretary

Philadelphia–The Philadelphia Housing Authority has filed a lawsuit that accuses the federal housing secretary of ordering the city to hand a $2 million property over to a politically connected developer, The New York Times reported Tuesday.According to the lawsuit, housing secretary Alphonso R. Jackson threatened to deny millions of dollars in federal aid after the city failed to provide the property. However, Department of Housing and Urban Development officials denied the charges this week and said Jackson had no prior relationship with the developer, songwriter and producer Kenny Gamble.Gamble’s company, Universal Community Homes, is part of a joint venture that planned to construct the first phase of the property’s development in 1999. The original deal promised developers would receive a parcel of vacant land in exchange for creating 236 low-income units and offering counseling for new residents.The city’s financing for the parcel of vacant land was in danger because it hadn’t met the requirements of a pre-existing housing plan, according to a spokesman for Jackson.Philadelphia housing officials filed the lawsuit–part of the ongoing battle over the city’s attempt to revamp the Martin Luther King Jr. projects–in December.