Nearly 4,000 Philadelphia Housing Authority landlords each paid $200 to the PHA for a supposed mandatory one-day training course during 2008 and August 2010. Instead of the money being used for their training, the landlords claimed the agency used the money for "personal gain and enrichment" of PHA employees and for an illegal lobbying fund.
The landlords filed a federal class-action lawsuit against the PHA, alleging that PHA redirected their money to the agency's nonprofit organization known as the PA Institute of Affordable Housing Professionals. The lawsuit asserted the money was used "to advance political causes and lobbying efforts." It also demands a compensation amount of $10,000 to $100,000 to each landlord, which comes to a total of nearly $40 million.
The landlord-program was closed in August. Nichole Tillman, the PHA spokesperson, said the agency stood behind the training program for the landlords. She said the course has helped improve the maintenance of rental properties and reassures citizens that the "PHA requires its landlords to invest themselves and their property knowledge" in the day-long course.
Former Executive Director Carl Greene, who was terminated after three sexual harassment suits were filed against him, is among the three PHA executives who are listed as the defendants in the suit. The lawsuit maintains that the PHA violated the rules of the voucher program, which is also known as Section 8. The landlords alleged the agency never informed the federal government that it was charging them for the training courses and placing the money into a lobbying fund.
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