The draft resolution, nine paragraphs on a single page, describes how the Philadelphia Housing Authority would pay a former female employee $200,000 to settle a gender-discrimination case against Executive Director Carl R. Greene.
Drawn up by outside lawyers in February 2007, the document summarizes the woman's complaint for the five-member board governing the PHA. It also notes that the payment would have to be approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
But the resolution never made it to the board.
A copy of the draft obtained by The Inquirer was shown Thursday to the authority's chairman, former Mayor John F. Street, who said he had never seen it. Street subsequently checked the board minutes in 2007 for Jan. 31, March 6, and March 29 and confirmed there was no mention of the complaint or the settlement.
"This resolution is not there," Street said.
PHA settled the complaint even though it did not have the required board approval. The former employee who filed the complaint, Melissa Shingles, signed the settlement Feb. 26, 2007. That document, also obtained by The Inquirer, was also signed by Sibyl Bryant, then-general manager of human resources at PHA. She could not be reached Thursday for comment.
The draft resolution sheds some light on how the agency orchestrated payments to three women who filed complaints against Greene beginning in 2004, culminating in secret settlements that amounted to $648,000. For the first time, the document shows that lawyers and perhaps others inside and outside the agency were aware of the complaints against Greene and created the paperwork to inform the board.
Why the board was not alerted as the number of complaints grew over the years remains a mystery. Street on Wednesday accused Greene of orchestrating "a full-blown cover-up" to keep the settlements secret. Aside from the three women who received cash payments, negotiations over another complaint are ongoing. Four other women have approached Street and alleged that Greene sexually harassed them.
Greene, who has been suspended by the board pending an inquiry, is being treated for stress-related issues at an undisclosed facility in Maryland. His attorney, Clifford E. Haines, did not respond to requests for comment.
Shingles, whose case is outlined in the resolution, filed a sex-discrimination complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In it, she said women at the PHA who did not succumb to Greene's sexual advances were demoted or fired. Reached Thursday, she declined to comment.
As executive director, Greene would have had to present the resolution to the board for its consideration, even though he was the subject of the complaint and proposed settlement.
The outside attorney who handled the settlement was Mark J. Foley of Cozen O'Connor. Thomas "Tad" Decker, president and chief executive officer of Cozen, said senior staff at PHA had asked Foley to prepare a resolution for the board. Foley and the firm "assumed it was going to the board," Decker said.
Decker said Foley had prepared "a number of drafts" for Greene and PHA staff. "We were just assured they were going to go to the board with all the facts and circumstances, and we had no reason not to believe it at the time," Decker said.
Street said that after Greene had been suspended, he asked PHA's chief of staff, Shelley James, if any resolutions about sexual-harassment cases had been sent to the board.
"I was told none came to the board," Street said. "She didn't say why."
After the initial revelation of the settlements, Street questioned why Shingles, a senior management specialist, had received two payments. Instead of getting a lump sum of $200,000, she received one check for $101,000 from the authority's insurance carrier and one from PHA for $99,000. Street has said that amount fell under the ceiling that would have required board notification.
The board disclosed last month that there had been two other sexual-harassment complaints in addition to Shingles': one filed in 2004 by a former finance manager, who settled for $98,000, and one in 2008 by another senior management specialist, who settled for $350,000. The names of those two women have not been made public.
Cozen also was hired to handle the 2008 complaint. Decker said the firm again had raised concerns that the PHA board would have to be informed. But he said PHA had dropped Cozen shortly thereafter. Elizabeth Malloy of Buchanan Ingersoll took over the case. She did not return calls for comment.
The fourth woman, Elizabeth Helm, filed a sexual-harassment complaint in April. PHA offered to settle her case for $250,000, but the interior designer has declined because the terms would prevent her from talking about what happened to her, said her lawyer, John Elliott. He said PHA had not replied.
Meanwhile, at the PHA board meeting Thursday, Street said the internal investigation of Greene was not complete because "not all of the facts are available."
He said he expected to have more to say at the next meeting, on Sept. 23, when the board will also interview candidates for interim director. The board is also seeking outside attorneys to represent the agency and the board separately on matters relating to Greene, a challenging task in a city where most big law firms have done some business with PHA.
"It will not be a lawyer that we have worked with in the past," Street said.