The Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority voted Monday night to appeal a federal judge's order that a tenants' organization be awarded the contract for redeveloping two blocks of dilapidated public housing in Old Town.
The decision came in response to a ruling Friday by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema that the housing authority had improperly turned down a bid from the Alexandria Resident Council.
Under federal law, tenants have the right to redevelop their own public housing, provided their bid is financially firm and matches the lowest outside bidder. The housing authority repeatedly rejected the bid of the Alexandria Resident Council, saying its bid was not financially firm.
Brinkema rejected that reasoning and threatened to appoint a third party to handle the $6.7 million project if the authority did not comply by Nov. 29. It was the second warning the judge had issued to the authority.
On the same day Brinkema issued her ruling, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development threatened to revoke its $6.7 million grant if the authority did not prove in 30 days that it was moving forward.
In its three-page letter, HUD also mentioned the possibility of appointing a third party to oversee the grant and implied that the authority must work with the tenant organization.
In addition to appealing to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the authority voted Monday night to begin formal discussions with the Alexandria Resident Council. If those discussions prove fruitful, the housing authority would withdraw the appeal.