Probe of former HUD secretary Alphonso Jackson said to be closed

By Ed O'Keefe
Washington Post staff writer
Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Alphonso Jackson, who resigned as President George W. Bush's secretary of housing and urban development amid multiple controversies, including allegations that he steered business to friends, is no longer the target of a federal investigation, his attorneys said Monday.

One of the lawyers, Jim Martin, said he learned Friday that the Justice Department was concluding its three-year probe without charges. A department spokeswoman declined to comment.

Steve Cousins, another Jackson attorney, called the investigation "thorough and fair" and said government lawyers "reviewed and fully considered our responses to the allegations and I think they stepped away fully realizing that the allegations were without support."

In a statement, Jackson said, "My belief in the justice system remains whole and complete." He now teaches at Hampton University and is director of the school's Center for Public Policy and Leadership.

Jackson resigned in March 2008 as congressional Democrats called for his ouster, arguing he could not effectively lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development while facing multiple accusations.

The department's inspector general was then looking at whether Jackson improperly sought to punish the Philadelphia Housing Authority for refusing to turn over a $2 million property to a Jackson friend. A federal grand jury also began investigating after Jackson said in an April 2006 speech that he arranged the firing of a contractor who told him, "I don't like President Bush."

Jackson later said he had concocted the anecdote as a joke, and HUD's inspector general concluded that Jackson had not exercised improper influence over contracts.

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