HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson, the highest ranking U.S. housing regulation official, announced his resignation today, effective April 18. He cited family reasons, but the FBI has been examining the ties between Jackson and a friend who was paid $392,000 by Jackson’s department as a construction manager in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Also the housing authority in Philadelphia has filed a lawsuit alleging that Jackson tried to punish the agency for nixing a deal involving another friend of Jackson.
He’s long been suspected of favoritism, and as the housing crisis deepens, it’s seen by many lawmakers as a positive for him to step down because his personal issues are a distraction. Curious that the White House chose this announcement to go today after annoucing the biggest Treasury proposal since the Great Depression, in which Treasury Secretary said housing is “by far” the biggest threat to the economy … this White House is nothing if not savvy messengers: let Treasury overshadow HUD in press coverage. With an April 18 end date, there are more headlines to come … and most important, hopefully a strong successor who is up to the task. No successor was announced so far.