FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Michael P. McGeehan
McGeehan: $510,000 contract plan proves feds should retain PHA control
HARRISBURG, May 30 – State Rep. Michael P. McGeehan, D-Phila., said he is flabbergasted to learn of a Philadelphia Housing Authority plan to award a $510,000 contract to a resident group headed by an embattled ally of deposed PHA executive director Carl Greene.
Referencing a story in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, McGeehan said the planned deal with the Resident Advisory Board, whose president is Asia Coney, ignores the controversy that has swirled around the last PHA-affiliated organization that she headed.
”The harsh reality – which amazingly appears lost on the PHA – is that federal prosecutors have subpoenaed e-mails and financial records of Tenant Support Services Inc., a nonprofit corporation Ms. Coney once headed with a $108,000 yearly salary," said McGeehan. "Given the federal government’s deep and apparently unrelenting probes into PHA corruption, it boggles the mind why anyone would want to bring her back into the financial mix until these investigations run their course."
McGeehan said that reported abuses at Tennant Support Services Inc. were the driving force behind his amendment to Senate Bill 1174, which would ban the PHA from funding any nonprofit that employs a member of the housing authority.
"I am not the only one who found it particularly reprehensible that while making a salary in excess of $100,000, Ms. Coney paid only $654 a month in rent to live in Philadelphia public housing, plus was driving a PHA-supplied SUV," said McGeehan. "These things are an abuse of public money – and an affront to the public trust. They must be rooted out and corrected if we are to restore public confidence in the PHA."
Based on today’s revelation that a half-million-dollar contract with another Coney-affiliated organization was in the works, McGeehan said he was renewing his push to ensure that the PHA remain under federal control until all pending criminal investigations run their course. He and other Philadelphia legislators staked out that position at a press conference last week.
"At this crucial and delicate juncture, the PHA should not revert back to city control," said McGeehan, who repeated his call for state Sen. Gene Yaw to withdraw his bill that would give the Philadelphia mayor power to appoint a new local PHA board.
"The popular saying goes, ‘Out with the old, and in with the new.’ We can’t afford to let the PHA change it to, ‘Out with the old – then back in with the old,'" said McGeehan. "You can’t move to the future by revisiting the past."