- Thursday, 23 September 2010 21:20
PHA Workers File Class Action Lawsuit
By Mike Holter
Â(LEGAFI)Â -- Philadelphia Housing Authority workers have filed a federal class action lawsuit claiming PHA forced them to contribute money and gifts for â€œlavishâ€ parties that they were required to attend. The lawsuit also claims PHA deducted money from employeesâ€™ paychecks to support nonprofits it established to lobby for federal funds, which directly violates state and federal law.
The class action lawsuit alleges PHA unlawfully deducted money from the paychecks of all non-union employees â€œunder the pretext that the funds would be used for charitable purposes, but instead were improperly converted and used for the benefit of the defendants.â€ These deductions from membersâ€™ pay allegedly continued from 2006 through September 2010, when the collection was terminated.
In addition to PHA, the lawsuit names Pennsylvania Institute of Affordable Housing Professionals (PIAHP), PHA-Tenant Support Services Incorporated (TSSI), the Executive Director for PHA, the Assistant Executive Director/Administration for PHA, the former communications Manager for PHA, PHAâ€™s Chief of Police and Public Safety & Risk Management, and the Director of TSSI.
PHA is required to annually report fiscal expenditures, including those involving its nonprofit entities, TSSI and PIAHP. It is also prohibited from using any federal funds for lobbying activities and is required to disclose if any funds other than Federally appropriated funds are used for that purpose. The lawsuit alleges PHA has not disclosed any of its lobbying activities since 2002.
The PHA class action lawsuit is brought on behalf of all current and former employees of the Philadelphia Housing Authority who contributed money to the defendants. Approximately 300 people are estimated to be eligible under the proposed class action lawsuit.
The class action lawsuit is seeking punitive damages along with an injunction barring the defendants from deducting or collecting funds from employeesâ€™ pay or from contractors doing business with defendants for the benefit of any non-profit entity established by the defendants. Itâ€™s also asking that penalties of between $10,000 and $100,000 for each infraction be imposed.
A copy of the Philadelphia Housing Authority Class Action Lawsuit can be read here.