Philadelphia Housing Authority chief Michael Kelly abrupty resigns

Michael Kelly, the man who was appointed head of the Philadelphia Housing Authority in 2010 in the wake of the sexual harassment scandal that forced out Carl Greene, has abruptly resigned.

Karen Newton Cole, PHA’s lone board commissioner, accepted Kelly’s resignation Friday, which is effective immediately. The reason for Kelly’s resignation is unclear at this time and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which oversees PHA, would not comment.

“We’re not going beyond the statement,” said HUD spokeswoman Donna White.

Kelly, who previously served as executive director of New York City’s Housing Authority, came to PHA in December 2010 during a tumultuous period. Federal authorities were investigating the agency’s financial practices and Greene had agreed to part ways after it came to light that the agency had settled numerous sexual harassment complaints on his behalf, unbeknowst to the board at that time, which included former Mayor John Street.

Kelly was made permanent director last August. In his brief time, he was credited with restoring credibility at the agency, which provides home to 80,000 low-income people. Under his leadership, PHA conducted its first-ever auction of undeveloped properties and also reached what officials called “historic” agreements with the agency’s labor unions.

Kelvin Jeremiah, PHA’s current director of Audit and Compliance, will replace Kelly as interim executive director, effective immediately. Also, Estelle Richman, a senior advisor to the HUD Secretary will replace Newton Cole as the lone commissioner and the receiver. Richman previously served as the PHA board when HUD placed the housing authority in receivership in 2011.

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