Federal housing officials have put a new team in place to lead the troubled Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO).
Gilmore Kean, LLC, a management consultant services firm that specializes in turning around public housing agencies, will be in New Orleans to lead day-to-day operations and evaluate HANO’s operations, beginning Oct. 30.
“As I stated earlier this week, the New Orleans Housing Authority’s trouble did not begin with Hurricane Katrina. It has been plagued with mismanagement for a number of years, which means HUD must go above and beyond our usual steps to turn around a troubled housing agency,” said Shaun Donovan, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). “We are confident the new team that will be on the ground at the end of the month will continue the work already begun to give the people of New Orleans a housing agency that’s accountable and well-run.”
David Gilmore will serve as the administrative receiver. He has served as deputy administrator for the Boston Housing Authority and CEO of housing authorities in Seattle and San Francisco. From 1995 to 2000, Gilmore was the court-appointed receiver of the District of Columbia Housing Auathority.
HUD also announced the creation of the HANO Advisory Panel that will provide counsel as the receivership team develops steps to correct the agency’s deficiencies.
The move comes shortly after a contractor hired by the housing authority pleaded guilty in federal district court to taking nearly $1 million from the agency.
Elias Castellanos, who spent two years as HANO’s CFO, faces up to 10 years in prison in addition to fines, restitution, and three years of subsequent parole, according to The Times-Picayune.
Federal officials charged Castellanos with embezzling the money over three years. He has repaid $675,037 so far, according to the newspaper.