The Philadelphia Housing Authority's deposed executive director, Carl R. Greene, has once again taken aim at PHA Chairman John F. Street, accusing the former mayor of defaming him.
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday by Greene in Common Pleas Court against his former employer, Greene singled out Street for comments he made during a show on 6ABC in October. Unlike a federal lawsuit Greene filed in September against the whole PHA board for wrongful termination, breach of contract, and defamation, the Common Pleas Court suit names Street alone as a defendant.
The complaint states only that Greene's damages exceed $50,000. In the federal suit, Greene has demanded about $4 million to settle, according to sources familiar with the situation.
Street declined to comment Tuesday night.
The five-member PHA board voted to terminate Greene in September, a month after reports surfaced that Greene had settled three sexual-harassment claims against him for $648,000 without informing the board, with another $250,000 settlement in the works at the time. He had been director of the Housing Authority since 1998.
As in the previous suit, Greene's attorney, Clifford E. Haines, accuses Street of trying to hide his own failings as board chairman by public accusations against Greene. He added that Street was fueled by resentment of an internal investigation that Greene authorized of a Street aide, lawyer Kafi Lindsay.
The suit centers on an interview Street did with 6ABC's Inside Story on Oct. 24.
Street ostensibly was on the show to address comments he had recently made about Mayor Nutter's performance in office. But Street was also asked how it was that he knew nothing about Greene's conduct at PHA, as he has maintained.
Street, in response, said that Greene "lied about everything" while at PHA.
Haines argued that Street's comment was out of bounds and defamatory.
"By October 2010, Defendant Street's behavior and actions had transcended any relationship to his duties, obligations, or responsibilities as chair of the PHA board," Haines wrote in the complaint. "Street's statements to the press were not out of concern for PHA, but rather were part [of] a desperate effort to divert the public attention from his own personal failings and to project his irresponsible conduct onto Mr. Greene."
Street, in previous public statements, credited Greene for his performance as a public housing administrator but also called him a "serial" sexual harasser who deliberately concealed his conduct from the board.