CHA Chief Steps Down


After a breach of the public trust, Chicago Housing Authority CEO Lewis Jordan decided today to resign his 4-year-old tenure, following media coverage of his and other CHA staff members’ use of credit cards to charge thousands of dollars on expenses such as upscale restaurants and red light tickets.

CHA CEO Lewis Jordan tries to calm distraught tenants at the Charles A. Hayes Family Investment Center June 2, during a public hearing to comment on the agency’s plan to drug test all public housing tenants. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte

Since the investigation from other media came to light, new Mayor Rahm Emanuel took away Jordan’s use of two CHA cars and the police officers assigned to drive them, and ordered a full audit of how city officials and other staff had been using credit cards.

In an e-mailed statement, Jordan listed his accomplishments at the agency, but said that “over the past two weeks, questions about the propriety of credit card use have overshadowed the good and important work of the CHA.”

He then defended himself against the charges of frivolous credit card spending:

“The charges in question amount to approximately $15,000 over three years, were not used for any personal expenditures and were consistent with CHA and HUD policies and practice. Regardless, I believe this issue has become an impediment to my ability to steer this $1 billion a year organization through the important work it does for the citizens of Chicago.”

In an email today announcing Jordan’s resignation, James Reynolds, a relatively new chairman of the CHA Board of Commissioners, wrote that he “fully understands Lewis’ desire to move forward to end the attacks regarding his character and ethics.”

Reynolds added, “Over the course of our collaboration as CEO and Board Chairman, I have recognized Lewis as one of the finest professionals with whom I have ever worked. The successes and accomplishments of CHA during his tenure are numerous; he has moved the organization forward with boldness and with compassion simultaneously.”
Jordan’s resignation becomes effective June 30, 2011.

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