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June 15, 2011

  • News:  CHA Director Resigns Over Card Abuse 

    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel took office less than a month ago with one of his goals being to bring a new level of accountability, transparency and ethics to Chicago government. Emanuel ordered a city-wide review of credit card use and found approximately $15,000 in questionable credit card charges over three years on the Chicago Housing Authority's (CHA) credit card which was handled by Lewis Jordan, CEO. In the wake of the review, Emanuel took away Jordan's use of two CHA cars and the police officers assigned to drive them.

    Jordan's spending habits while in charge of the CHA raised some eyebrows in the administration. According to information posted by the administration online, Jordan used the card to pay for flowers and gift cards for employees, as well as monthly birthday cakes, holiday gifts for senior staff, a suite at the United Center to "boost morale" and nearly $800 to pay for red light camera tickets. The reports show that he also charged more than $12,800 in meals between March 2008 and early April 2011. It seems the Gold Coast was the center of Jordan's credit card spending. He used the card to pay for numerous meals at Carmine's, Hugo's Frog Bar, Gibson's, and even took a group of Chicago public school students to the Tavern on Rush. In March, he picked up the tab at Carmine's, which totaled $1,008. The meal was described as a business meeting with city officials to discuss "supportive housing initiatives and planning in Chicago," according to credit card documents.

    On Tuesday Jordan announced his resignation stating the questions about the use of the CHA credit card overshadowed the good and important work of the CHA. The CHA is a $1 billion a year organization which is charged with providing housing for some of Chicago's poorest. Emanuel, a former CHA board member, will pick a new CEO for the housing authority.

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