Guy Brignon's Letter of Resignation
This came out of left field: Guy Brignon, the Mayor Laura Miller-appointed chairman of the Dallas Housing Authority board, sent the mayor his letter of resignation today. Brignon steps down only a few weeks after it was learned that Brignon and the board secretly moved to oust DHA's CEO and president, Ann Lott, a respected and beloved figure -- not only for razing and replacing the infamous West Dallas housing projects, but also for working to house Hurricane Katrina evacuees in August and September 2005 and overseeing the construction of new housing units on the site of the former Frazier Courts projects near Fair Park. As we've mentioned several times here, Lott's ouster infuriated many folks who work with Dallas' low-income residents.
In his missive to Miller, Brignon says he's leaving the post "after much consideration." He doesn't cite specific reasons for his departure, saying only that he still has "concerns and questions about the financial stewardship of the agency," and he believes he can't "in good conscience continue to serve as the primary fiduciary in the role as board chairman."
Here is Brignon's full letter of resignation, but once more, he cites the 2005 KPMG audit of the DHA as the main reason behind his concerns. Brignon has said the audit, which has not been made public, reveals "significant material weaknesses, lack of internal controls, non-compliance and violation of state law." Top-ranking DHA officials vehemently disagree with his assessment.
Brignon, who had been a senior partner at Las Colinas-based residential developer JPI, stands by his assertion that "DHA is in need of much stronger professional management in its daily operations." He also wishes the board members well, but does not mention Lott in his letter of resignation.
In a memo to City Secretary Deborah Watkins, the mayor today appointed Joe Velazquez -- "the DHA board member with the most senior status," writes Miller -- to the position of interim chair of the DHA board of commissioners.
After we posted this, the DHA sent over a statement concerning Brignon's resignation...sort of. Notice, he is not mentioned by name:
"DHA must remain focused on our agency's mission of providing safe, decent and affordable housing for low-income families and moving families toward self-sufficiency, economic independence and even home ownership.
Dedicated board members have always played an important role in assisting us in achieving these objectives, which are critical to the success of the entire city.
We thank DHA employees, the community, our clients and those at City Hall, for supporting DHA and its mission. DHA looks forward to working with board appointees to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Dallas who are in need of housing assistance."
In other words: See ya. --Robert Wilonsky