Since the feds took over the Philadelphia Housing Authority, trouble has only mounted for fired PHA executive director Carl Greene.
Federal auditors want to see all of the legal bills from Greene’s meetings with outside lawyers hired by PHA.
Legal bills since 2007 amount to more than $38 million. Auditors want to check, among other things, on whether some of the legal help paid for with public funds really was personal representation of Greene.
Greene’s lawyers are now arguing that those bills are protected by attorney-client privilege. Their notion is that Greene was the client. But the authority’s current lawyers say the authority itself, which paid the bills, is the client and it has no problem with releasing the bills. Greene warns that step would cause a dangerous erosion in the authority’s legal protections going forward.Georgette Chapman Phillips is a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania. She says she can’t quite follow Greene’s logic.”From my understanding, there were legal services provided that may or may not have been appropriate,” she said. “But they were still done and paid for by the housing authority. So what I don’t understand about his wanting to invoke privilege is that–it’s not his privilege. That’s the piece of his argument that is not resonating with me.” It’s unclear when the judge in the case is expected to make a ruling.