October 25, 2005
HUD SANCTIONS NEW HAVEN PUBLIC HOUSING OFFICIALS
WASHINGTON - The Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced that it has settled the
proposed debarments of four former housing authority officials, who participated in the violation of HUD rules
regarding the inspection of New Haven's public housing units. Their actions compromised the integrity of the inspections of public housing units in the Housing Authority of the City of New Haven's (HANH) inventory.
HUD determined that these officials knew or had reason to know that HANH employees had gained access to a confidential computer system used to randomly select housing units for inspection. HANH officials used the data obtained from this website to make repairs to specific units prior to inspection.
"The message is clear," said General Deputy Assistant Secretary Paula Blunt; "the Department will take legal action against individuals if necessary to protect residents and the integrity of HUD programs."
- Cynthia Y. Newton, former executive director, agreed to a two-year government-wide voluntary exclusion, which prohibits her from doing business, as either a principal or participant, with the federal government from May 3, 2005-May 2, 2007.
- Edward Schwartz, former deputy director, agreed to a two-year government-wide voluntary exclusion, which prohibits him from doing business, as either a principal or participant, with the federal government from May 3, 2005-May 2, 2007.
- William Willette, former interim director of operations, agreed to a three-year government-wide voluntary exclusion, which prohibits him from doing business, as either a principal or participant, with the federal government from May 6, 2005-May 5, 2008.
- Steve Haberman, former HANH consultant, withdrew his appeal of the proposed debarment. Mr. Haberman is debarred for a period of three years, which prohibits him from doing business, as either a principal or
participant, with the federal government, from May 6, 2005-May 5, 2008.
The Department has also suspended and proposed the three-year debarment of independent housing inspector,
James Hanley, whose password was used by HANH officials to access the confidential HUD website. Mr. Hanley has appealed his suspension and proposed debarment, and a hearing is pending in this matter.
The debarments are the result of actions that compromised the integrity of the housing inspections used to assess the physical condition of public housing units in HANH's inventory. Annually HUD hires contractors to conduct on-
site inspection of a sampling of a housing authority's units to ensure they are safe and sanitary. These random inspections are supposed to be done without prior notice to the PHA. The inspections are part of HUD's Public
Housing Assessment System (PHAS), the assessment tool HUD uses to rate public housing authority performance. Housing authorities receive scores based on four performance indicators � financial, management, physical condition and resident satisfaction. The compromised inspections at HANH were conducted in December 2004 and January 2005; the Department ordered the reinspection of HANH's public housing units, which was completed in April and
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and, supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as
well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.