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September 1, 2014, 7:45 am

Estelle Richman exits chief role at PHA

Housing authority commissioner Estelle Richman announced this week that she was stepping down, turning over control of the troubled agency to another official at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Richman announced on Thursday that she would hand the reins to Karen Newton-Cole, acting chief of human resources at HUD.

Newton-Cole could not be reached for comment.

Richman has been the sole overseer at PHA since March, after being appointed board commissioner, as part of a federal takeover of PHA. She held the position along with a job at HUD where she was chief operating officer. However, after receiving a promotion last month at HUD, she was forced to give up her role at PHA because it created a conflict of interest.

As deputy secretary, her new title, she would have been her own boss.

She told residents at the board meeting that she planned to stay involved.

“I live in Philadelphia, so I get to keep an eye on everyone,” Richman told the Daily News.

Richman, who has a long history of public service with the city and strong ties to former Mayor John F. Street and former Gov. Ed Rendell, led the agency during a particularly troubled period. During her tenure she opened up the agency making public its $1.1 billion budget.

The move was a sharp reversal from the secrecy made famous by former director Carl Greene who was fired in September 2010 in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment and financial misconduct. Ultimately, the scandal surrounding Greene also brought down the board, led by Street, who, along with every other member of the board, was forced out in February because of fears that the agency’s scandals would endanger federal funds, which make up the majority of PHA revenues.

HUD is expected to return oversight of the agency in March 2012.