Critics are blasting President Trump’s decision on Wednesday to pick longtime loyalist Lynne Patton, who began her affiliation with the Trump Organization back in 2009 when she started working as the family’s “event planner”, to head up the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Region II.
HUD’s Region II, which includes New York and New Jersey, is known as the biggest HUD regional office in the country. Beginning July 5, Patton will oversee the distribution of billions of taxpayer dollars to public housing authorities — including the one in New York City — in addition to tens of thousands of rental vouchers and block grants which go to fund housing inspections and senior citizen programs.
During Trump’s election, Patton, an African American, spoke up for him in a video titled, “I’m proof Donald Trump isn’t a bigot.”
Patton was appointed as a White House liaison at HUD in February. She defended HUD Secretary Ben Carson last month when he said that “poverty was a state of mind”, and applauded Budget Director Mick Mulvaney’s statement that Team Trump is “no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or the number of people on those programs but by the number of people we help get off those programs.”
Critics say that Patton has no experience in housing and dismiss her previous responsibilities with the Trump Organization — having arranged golf tournaments at Trump courses, served as the liaison to the Trump family during his presidential campaign, and planned Eric Trump’s wedding — as not relevant to her new position.
Questions are swirling about the validity of her law degree and other items stated on her LinkedIn resume. And recent reports claiming foul play at Eric Trump’s foundation, in which she had served as former vice president from 2011 through January, have raised even more.
On May 5, Patton visited the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and asked to see an old community center that had fallen into disrepair at the McKinley Houses in the Bronx.
It was reported by the Daily News that NYCHA Chairwoman Shola Olatoye said the agency staff who escorted Patton said she was “less interested in the actual infrastructure and more interested in an old clipping of the community center that was all glass and steel and now is struggling.”
“I think the reaction was surprise, maybe a little bit horrified,” said Olatoye, noting that the authority’s older buildings need an estimated $17 billion in upgrades.
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