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Housing agency barred from Fairfax County projects because of fraud case

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By Derek Kravitz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 11, 2010; 5:26 PM

One of Northern Virginia's top affordable-housing nonprofit agencies has been excluded from any Fairfax County projects for the next year because of its role in an alleged fraud scheme that officials say was orchestrated by the agency's former executive director.

Alexandria-based Robert Pierre Johnson Housing Development Corp. of the National Capital Area was not included in a list of agencies approved Tuesday that will receive about $11 million in federal, state and local affordable housing projects from Fairfax for next fiscal year. Fairfax County officials said the group's former executive director, Herbert J. Cooper-Levy, forged a zoning document to secure $700,000 in public loans and avoid potential zoning violations.

Cooper-Levy, 60, was placed on administrative leave after the accusations became public in mid-March. He resigned a week later. After his resignation, county officials said they would continue to monitor RPJ Housing and would be open to lifting a three-year ban it placed on the firm.

Cooper-Levy, who did not return a call for comment Tuesday, has not been charged with a crime. Eric Bonetti, RPJ Housing's acting executive director, has called the alleged forgery a "one-time isolated incident." He said Tuesday that an internal investigation of the fraud allegations has not been completed.

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