Ex-Philly housing chief's suit against city on tap

January 30, 2013 5:25:12 AM PST
The scandal that rocked the Philadelphia Housing Authority almost three years ago is now being played out in excruciating detail in Federal Court.

PHA's former executive director, Carl Greene, was fired after revelations that he paid out a million dollars to settle sexual harassment claims against him.

Greene claims he was fired illegally and is now suing his former bosses at the housing agency, and chief among them is former Mayor John Street, who was chairman of the board at the time.

Street claimed Greene was dismissed because, among other things, he hid the sex claim settlements from the board.

During his opening argument today, Greene's lawyer, Clifford Haines, claimed he has proof that Street was fully aware of the payments.

Haines says Greene was fired because he embarrassed Street.

Haines attacked Street for turning Greene's dismissal into a public spectacle.

Haines called former Governor Ed Rendell to the stand.

Rendell recruited Greene for the job when he was mayor and often praised the work Greene was doing for the Housing Authority.

The lawyer representing Street and the Housing Authority, Steven Engelmeyer, says his job performance, for the most part, isn't in dispute.

Engelmeyer says the only issue is whether or not the board had just cause to fire Greene.

Greene is trying to win two years of salary he claims he's owed - about $700,000 plus unspecified damages.

In the days ahead, the alleged sexual harassment victims will be testifying. In the meantime, the FBI and others continue to investigate Greene's tenure as head of the PHA.