Philadelphia Housing Authority chief Carl R. Greene retained a team of retired FBI agents to stake out an aide to Board Chairman John F. Street, videotape her movements, and copy her computer hard drives, according to a confidential PHA report obtained by The Inquirer.
The private investigators, hired to determine whether the aide, Kafi Lindsay, 34, was going to work, concluded that her attendance was "sporadic," that she may have done private legal work on PHA time, and that she appeared "to be in violation of one or more PHA policies," including the agency's residency requirement.
The five-page report, stamped draft, was secretly ordered up by Greene last year in an extraordinary effort on his part to investigate his boss, former Mayor Street, who appears to have been the ultimate target of the eight-month investigation.
In its first paragraph, the document states that the probe was prompted by Lindsay's failure to appear in the office "despite the submission of time sheets." Street was responsible for certifying Lindsay's attendance, a point Greene put in writing in a 2008 letter when Lindsay was hired for the federally funded job.
Greene, suspended last month by the PHA board for failing to report four sexual-harassment claims filed against him, never acted on the document.
Sources familiar with the probe made its findings known only last week after Street publicly accused Greene of covering up settlements of the sexual-harassment claims. Street has also said Greene would lose his job if an internal board investigation proved even one of the claims had merit.
In an e-mail message late Friday, Street defended his actions and Lindsay's performance. "I authorized the time sheets because she worked," he said.
On her own behalf, Lindsay said Friday in an e-mail: "I did PHA work on PHA time and legal work on my own time."
Educated at Masterman High School, Howard University, and Howard Law School, Lindsay was a relative unknown until her name surfaced as the target of Greene's surveillance.
The private detectives tracked her for five workdays in December, just before she left on maternity leave, beginning their stakeouts at what they determined was her residence in Cherry Hill.
PHA requires most employees to live in Philadelphia. In her e-mail, Lindsay said, "I live in Philadelphia. My boyfriend lives in Cherry Hill. I won't discuss any other particulars of my personal life."
Investigators performed a "computer forensic analysis" of her PHA desktop computer and a laptop that they determined she also used at work, copying both hard drives and reviewing their contents in October.
Lindsay said the laptop was her personal property.
Street asserted that "invading her computer" may be illegal.
Lindsay was not interviewed by the investigators or by PHA. In the report, dated Feb. 22, 2010, the former federal agents said their conclusions were "preliminary."
"The five days that I was followed, I did work for the chairman and PHA," Lindsay said. "Some days, I worked remotely and other days went into the office late."
In her defense, Street added: "Lawyers often work at places other than their office work stations. PHA has a policy of allowing employees to work from home."
To manage the surveillance operation, Greene tapped his chief of staff, Shelly James, who turned to James J. Eisenhower, a well-known Philadelphia lawyer who is a partner at Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis L.L.P., one of Philadelphia's premier law firms. He was the unsuccessful Democratic candidate for state attorney general in 2000 and 2004 and serves as chairman of the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority.
His wife, Nora Dowd Eisenhower, a former secretary of Pennsylvania's Department of Aging, has been paid $471,209 by PHA since early 2009 for creating programs for the agency's elderly tenants, officials said. She left her state job in the fall of 2008.
Greene's investigation of Lindsay was paid for with PHA money, although it was not known how much the investigation cost.
Eisenhower retained Auld & Associates, a Delaware County firm known for hiring former FBI and IRS agents and retired Philadelphia police officers.
Eisenhower declined to comment, as did Auld.
The surveillance started in June and ended in January, when Auld sent Eisenhower a CD containing copies of Lindsay's two computer drives.
The disclosures involving Greene's secret surveillance of Lindsay come as Greene and Street are locked in battle over Greene's performance and his future at PHA.
Street has asserted that the board was never told about three sexual-harassment claims against Greene by female employees that were secretly settled for a total of $648,000. A fourth claim has been tentatively settled for $250,000, although no settlement papers have been signed. In all four cases, women said they had been demoted or fired for not succumbing to Greene's sexual advances. Greene has denied those allegations.
Last week, Street accused Greene of orchestrating a "cover-up" to hide the sexual-harassment claims from the board. Greene has responded by suing the PHA board in federal court, saying it damaged his reputation and denied him due process.
Greene is receiving inpatient medical care at a facility in Maryland. Before his suspension, he took a leave to deal with "stress" triggered in mid-August by an avalanche of negative press that began with reports of personal financial problems.
They were quickly followed by accounts of sexual harassment of female employees, and highly abusive behavior toward both male and female employees, who described a climate of fear and intimidation at the agency.
Those reports from inside the agency were at odds with Greene's national reputation as a highly competent, even visionary, director of the nation's fourth-largest public-housing agency, which has a federally funded annual budget of $345 million.
At stake now is not only Greene's 13-year tenure, but also more than $600,000 in compensation Greene is expected to claim if the board terminates his contract, which seems likely.
His lawyer, Clifford E. Haines, declined to comment Friday. In filing suit Tuesday, Haines said that Greene's "reputation has been irreparably damaged," and that Greene was entitled to the "remaining terms" of his contract, which has two years to run. His salary last year was $306,370, and he received a $44,188 bonus.
Lindsay was hired in December 2008, went on maternity leave in January this year, and returned to work at the end of March. PHA records show a return date of April 1.
The video surveillance of Lindsay's comings and goings from a Cherry Hill apartment occurred during five weekdays in December.
Surveillance in New Jersey typically started at 8 a.m. and ended at 1 p.m.
On Thursday, Dec. 10, the investigators reported that her car had never left the residence parking lot.
The following day, she drove away at 10:33 a.m. to a nearby Home Depot, returned to the home within the hour, and did not leave again that day.
The next Monday, Dec. 14, Lindsay left the home at 12:13 p.m., but the investigators lost her "in heavy traffic approximately 17 minutes later."
On Dec. 16, a Wednesday, she was observed leaving at 12:12 p.m. and driving to Philadelphia, where she was last seen entering a parking garage.
The final day of surveillance was Dec. 18, when her vehicle remained parked at the residence from 8 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
Her computer hard drives were "mirrored" Oct. 22 when PHA allowed an Auld "forensic analyst" into the office after hours. Both computers were already running.
The report does not always specify whether the files copied by Auld were found on the laptop or desktop computer.
Among the computer files copied were documents connected to an urban politics course Street teaches at Temple University, "several lists of names of individuals recognizable as influential Philadelphians . . . possibly related to Mr. Street's class," and a spreadsheet of nationwide media contacts, including George Stephanopoulos and German television.
The legal documents found on her office computer were for a firm called Triumph Investment Group Inc.
They included a legal billing program indicating it was used in 2009, "various undated drafts" of legal memorandums involving Triumph, and 2009 letters to bankruptcy court.
In an earlier interview, Lindsay said she never did outside work on PHA time.
"I do pro bono work for people facing foreclosure," she said.
Court records show that in January 2009, Lindsay filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy documents for Triumph - a Delaware company that listed its worth at $2 million. Owned by Richard Ross, Triumph in 2003 purchased a building in the 700 block of North 63d Street. It received a $1.3 million mortgage on the property, but was unable to pay the debt.
Lindsay filed a series motions in the bankruptcy, which was dismissed in August 2009 after Triumph was unable to implement a reorganization plan.
Three months later, the building went to sheriff's sale.
Ross, who lived in West Philadelphia, is now deceased, his son said.
In a related matter, at a meeting Thursday, PHA's five-member board was given an accounting of every legal settlement since 1998 that went before the board as a resolution for approval.
Of 33 submitted over 12 years, none included any of the three known sexual-harassment cases settled against Greene. The document thus appears to corroborate Street's assertion that the board was unaware of the pattern of settlements.
The accounting included a separate table listing hundreds of other civil cases settled with payouts by PHA's insurer, but without board action. Under PHA rules, settlements below a certain amount were not taken before the board for approval.
This table shows that a woman who accused Greene of sexual harassment received a $300,000 payment in 2008 from PHA's carrier.
Her case was apparently never brought before the board because PHA itself, as distinct from the carrier, paid her only $50,000. That sum was below the threshold for board approval and detailed disclosure.
From 2002 on, the threshold for board action was raised to settlements greater than $100,000. Before that, the threshold was $50,000.