Henson and HUD

November 02, 1997

BALTIMOREANS should be relieved the Department of Housing and Urban Development has retroactively absolved city Housing Commissioner Daniel P. Henson III of what appeared to be a clear conflict-of-interest violation. That Mr. Henson didn't consult HUD for a ruling until after the fact, however, is disturbing. It smacks of past criticism of the commissioner's shoot-first, ask-questions-later approach.

A company owned by Mr. Henson's sister was subcontracted to do interior decorating in the Lafayette Courts housing development, despite HUD rules barring contracts between housing administrators and companies owned by themselves or members of their immediate family. Mr. Henson asked for a HUD waiver -- after the conflict of interest was reported June 29 by The Sun. Too frequently, Mr. Henson's scoffing at rules to get things done quickly has left an unpleasant odor. He could have avoided that in this case with a little foresight.

Pub Date: 11/02/97

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