Alphonso Roy Jackson (born September 9, 1945, in Marshall, Texas) is the former 13th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). He was nominated by President George W. Bush on January 28, 2004 and unanimously confirmed by the Senate on March 31, 2004. On March 31, 2008, Jackson announced his resignation, effective April 18, 2008.
Jackson became the Deputy Secretary of HUD in June 2001. After former HUD Secretary Mel Martinez left the administration to campaign for the November 2004 election for a U.S. Senate seat in Florida, Jackson became acting secretary of HUD.
Early life and career
Born in Texas
, Jackson grew up in South Dallas
. His father was a lead smelter; Jackson was the youngest of twelve children.[He earned a bachelor's degree in political science
(1968) and a master's degree in education administration (1969) from Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State University
) and a J.D.
from Washington University School of Law
in 1973. Jackson is a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi
In 1977, Jackson became the Director of Public Safety for the City of St. Louis. Jackson also served as executive director for the St. Louis Housing Authority. While there, he also became an assistant professor at the University of Missouri - St. Louis. Later, Jackson was Director of the HUD Office of Public and Assisted Housing in Washington, DC.
From January 1989 until July 1996, Jackson was President and CEO of the Housing Authority of the City of Dallas, Texas. He later became President of American Electric Power-TEXAS, a large utility company located in Austin, Texas. In 1995, Governor George W. Bush appointed Jackson to the Texas Southern University Board of Regents; he remained on the board until 2003.
Jackson first joined the Bush Administration in June 2001 as the Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
. As Deputy Secretary, Jackson managed the day-to-day operations of HUD, which had an annual budget of over $30 billion. After HUD Secretary Mel Martinez
left the administration to campaign for the November 2004 election for a U.S. Senate seat
, Jackson became acting secretary of HUD. He was nominated by President George W. Bush
on January 28, 2004 to take that position on a permanent basis, and was unanimously confirmed by the Senate on March 31, 2004.
On March 31, 2008, Jackson announced his resignation, effective April 18, 2008.
Allegations of misconduct
Selecting contractors based on politics
On April 28, 2006, Jackson spoke at a meeting in Dallas and addressed the subject of government contracting. He recounted that a prospective African-American
HUD contractor had made a "heck of a proposal" and was selected upon the basis of that proposal, but upon thanking Secretary Jackson for being selected the bidder, mentioned that he did not like President Bush. As a result, Jackson said, the bidder who had criticized Bush did not receive the contract: "Brother, you have a disconnect — the president is elected, I was selected. You wouldn’t be getting the contract unless I was sitting here. If you have a problem with the president, don’t tell the secretary." Jackson asked the crowd, "Why should I reward someone who doesn't like the president, so they can use funds to try to campaign against the president? Logic says they don't get the contract. That's the way I believe.
After Jackson's comment, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) called for Jackson to resign. In response, the Department of Housing and Urban Development stated that Jackson's statement was not literally true but instead "anecdotal," and meant only to "explain to this group how politics works in D.C. An inspector general's report later claimed that Jackson "personally intervened with contractors whom he did not like...these contractors had Democratic political affiliations," however no direct proof was found that Jackson's staff obeyed.
Conflict of interest investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation
, in conjunction with HUD Inspector General Kenneth Donohue, a federal grand jury
, and prosecutors from the Justice Department
's Public Integrity Section
are investigating conflict of interest
allegations over a $127 million redevelopment project in New Orleans
that Jackson had awarded to Columbia Residential, an Atlanta
Company. According to the HUD secretary's public financial disclosure reports, the firm has significant financial ties to Jackson, and owes the secretary between $250,000 and $500,000 "for past services." The investigation centers around whether Jackson had misled Congress when he testified that he "didn't touch contracts".
Separately, federal agents are closely examining whether Jackson arranged lucrative housing work for two of his close friends, one of whom worked at the Housing Authority of New Orleans, and the other had received a contract to manage the Virgin Islands Housing Authority.
Jackson's former No. 2 aide Scott Keller has emerged as a key figure in the investigation.
Withholding funds for political reasons
In March 2008 The Washington Post
reported on a series of emails in early 2007 between HUD assistant secretaries Kim Kendrick and Orlando J. Cabrera that suggested that HUD leadership sought to punish Carl R. Greene, the director of the Philadelphia Housing Authority
(PHA). Greene had refused to turn over property to Universal Community Homes, a development company founded by Kenny Gamble, a friend of Jackson's; Greene said that Universal had not performed as promised. Gamble complained to Jackson about the situation in 2006. On the same date that the emails were sent, HUD notified PHA that it was in violation of rules regarding accessibility for disabled residents.
Countrywide Financial Loan Scandal
In June 2008 Conde Nast Portfolio reported that Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Alphonso Jackson was one of several politicians that got below rates loans at Countrywide Financial because the corporation considered the officeholders "FOA's"--"Friends of Angelo" (Countrywide Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo).