Richmond housing authority charged with nepotism

Grand jury offers harsh critique on Richmond Housing Authority
Hacienda housing complex

The nephew of Kathleen Jones, a top official at the Richmond Housing Authority, was paid more than double his salary in overtime and other perks as a public housing maintenance worker last year, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Jeffery Likely made more than $29,000 in overtime and other pay for working late shifts and being on call in 2012, in addition to his base salary of $23,000, according to the CIR. He also lives rent-free at Nevin Plaza, one of the five city housing projects he’s responsible for maintaining, CIR reported Tuesday.

The manager who signed off on Likely’s overtime reports directly to Jones. While the approval of Likely’s pay does not appear illegal, the CIR report suggests it walks a fine ethical line.

The revelation is the latest in a series of news articles by CIR alleging dysfunction at the Richmond Housing Authority. The reports claim mismanagement and misuse of funds by city officials have led to deplorable conditions at the public housing developments, particularly the Hacienda complex.

The CIR interviewed public housing residents who complained about the poor conditions, and showed images of leaky roofs and chronic bug and rodent infestations.

Jones’ future employment could be discussed at a special meeting at City Council at 6:30 tonight. The special meeting is being held solely to discuss the housing authority, and one agenda item includes a vote of no confidence for Kathleen Jones and her boss, Executive Director Tim Jones. The two are not related.

However, City Manager Bill Lindsay has asked council in a letter to table the item involving Kathleen Jones, saying such a hearing could potentially violate employee privacy laws, according to Councilman Tom Butt. Lindsay also wrote that Jones’ performance should not be judged before a full audit of the Housing Agency is completed.

While some council members are calling for a change in management at the housing authority, Councilman Butt blames a lack of federal funding for the agency’s problems.

Butt said he inspected the Hacienda and found the CIR reports to be sensational and inaccurate. He says politics played a part in City Council’s fiery response to the CIR investigation.

“I predict [tonight’s] special City Council meeting will be the circus of all circuses, with six of seven City Council members running for office trying to score political points on the backs of others,”  Butt said. “It will get very ugly.”



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