Former HUD Assistant Secretary H. R. Crawford was charged yesterday with illegally admitting new tenants to the federally subsidized Glenarden Apartments project that he now manages in Prince George's County.
The 800-unit complex owned by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, where Crawford once managed the nation's federal housing program, was prohibited from admitting tenants last January because dozens of housing code violations had not been corrected.
Prince George's County housing ofmons yesterday ordering Crawford to carry a fine of up to $1,000 and a six-month jail term.
More than 40 percent of the Glenarden Apartments, which Crawford has managed since last spring, are now vacant according to federal officials.
Charles C. Deegan of the county's licensing agency said Crawford was charged with admitting two tenants in recent weeks but that housing officials believe there have been other cases.
Crawford denied that.
"We haven't been moving people in," Crawford said yesterday. "We have moved in a maintenance man and a security guard. We have to do that to run the place. And we did move some people from some flooded-out units into dry ones. But if that's wrong, God help us."
"I think the problem is that we have some overzealous officials in the county who are overreacting," Crawford said, "and its counter-productive to what we're trying to do."
Deegan said that county housing officials were unhappy with HUD's work-- or lack of it-- at both the Glenarden Apartments and a second project in Seat Pleasant that HUD owns, Central Gardens.
HUD became the owner of both the Glenarden Apartments and Central Gardens after the original owners of the developments defaulted on millions of dollars in federally guaranteed construction loans.
The county had set a Sept. 1 deadline for correction of severe erosion problems at Central Gardens, but by this week, Deegan said, the work had not yet been completed.
County officials had planned to seek a court order to evict all tenants from Central Gardens because of HUD's failure to correct code violations by this week. Deegan said, however, that action had been postponed after a meeting last week between County Executive Lawrence J. Hogan and Lawrence B. Simons, HUD's current assistant secretary for housing.
According to county and HUD officials, Simons and Hogan discussed problems in all areas of the county's federally subsidized housing program and agreed to have their staffs begin negotiations on the future of Central Gardens, Glenarden, and other financially troubled projects in Prince George's.
"They agreed on what they are going to disagree on," said Warren Dun of HUD's public informations office.
In the past, Hogan has said that he would like to see at least part of several housing projects in the county torn down because they are "threats to human life."
HUD officials have maintained that their moderate- and low-income housing in Prince George's, however dilapidated, is too valuable to be torn down and should be rehabilitated.