In May, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Alphonso Jackson told Congress, “I don’t touch contracts.” But now the FBI and HUD Inspector General Kenneth Donohue are investigating whether Jackson “lined up a contract” for his “golfing buddy”:
The investigation appears to focus, in part, on whether Jackson misled Congress when he testified earlier this year that he had never intervened in awarding HUD contracts. “I don’t touch contracts,” the HUD boss told a Senate panel on May 3.
Investigators are exploring whether Jackson, despite that testimony, had actually lined up a contract at the HUD-controlled Housing Authority of New Orleans, or HANO, for a golfing buddy and social friend from Hilton Head Island, S.C. The friend, William Hairston, was paid more than $485,000 for working at HANO during an 18-month period, according to figures provided by HUD and a former HANO official. The work was not competitively bid.