A previous version of this article incorrectly reported the amount of the maintenance backlog the D.C. Housing Authority faces. It has a backlog of more than $2 billion. The article has been corrected.
Albert, who also heads the Downtown D.C. Business Improvement District, told The Washington Post late Wednesday that he submitted his resignation to Mayor Muriel E. Bowser on Oct. 14. Bowser (D) confirmed that she had accepted his resignation this week. His decision to step down was first reported by Washington City Paper.
Bowser has also asked the D.C. Board of Ethics and Government Accountability — which oversees conflict-of-interest disclosures and investigates allegations of ethical violations — to look further into allegations made in recent news reports that Albert did not properly disclose his romantic partnership with the chief executive of an architectural firm that has worked with DCHA.
DCHA officials on Tuesday received notice from Albert that he would be departing the board, according to an email obtained by The Post. He wrote that it has “been an honor” to serve on the board and wished his “fellow commissioners all the best for the future of DCHA.”
Albert’s decision to step down “was made with the intention of allowing DCHA to continue fulfilling its mission to serve the District’s most vulnerable citizens,” according to a statement emailed to The Post. The statement went on to say that Albert “led with integrity and a steadfast focus on fulfilling the DCHA mission.”
Jeffrey Anderson, of the website District Dig, wrote a series of stories this month that allege Albert voted in June to approve a board resolution naming his partner’s business among a group of architectural firms qualified to participate in the agency’s process meant to award millions of dollars in contracts. The business, Moya Design Partners, was founded by Paola Moya, with whom Albert has purchased a home, according to property records. The two are unmarried.
Board records show the June resolution passed 7-3, and Albert signed off on the measure as board chairman. There is no indication in a transcript of the meeting that Albert disclosed a personal relationship during a discussion among board members that preceded the vote.
Moya Design Partners has not been awarded any contracts as a result of that vote, and the firm has not received any payment from DCHA, the company said.
Bowser appointed Albert as the board’s chair in 2017; his term would have expired in 2022. He had previously served as the DCHA board chairman from 2007 to 2009 and has held positions in D.C. government, including as a city administrator and deputy mayor for planning and economic development.
Bowser issued an order this week designating Dionne Bussey-Reeder the new chair of DCHA’s governing board, which oversees the agency, approves contracts and helps to manage the agency’s finances.
Bowser appointed Bussey-Reeder, a longtime political ally to the board last year. Bussey-Reeder is executive director of the Far Southeast Family Strengthening Collaborative, a nonprofit that serves families and youths in Ward 8. She also unsuccessfully ran for an at-large seat on the D.C. Council against Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) in 2018. Bowser endorsed Bussey-Reeder and helped canvass and raise money for her campaign.
Silverman said she was concerned about Bowser’s appointment of Bussey-Reeder to the position of chair, noting that the board is stacked with voting members who are Bowser appointees and allies, including John Falcicchio, the deputy mayor for business economic development.
Council member Anita Bonds (D-At Large), who oversees the D.C. Council’s housing committee, said she sent a letter this week asking the District’s ethics agency and the Office of the Inspector General to look into allegations of conflicts of interest at DCHA. The letters also noted that Moya’s firm formally withdrew from doing business with DCHA on Oct. 16.
Albert chaired the housing authority board through a series of controversies over the last several years, including allegations that the agency inappropriately spent $22,000 on KN95 masks falsely certified as authentic during the coronavirus pandemic; ongoing questions and resident discontent over the redevelopment of public housing communities near the D.C. waterfront; and a settlement agreement with the D.C. Attorney General’s Office, which sued the agency for allegedly endangering thousands of tenants by failing to meaningfully respond to shootings, drug sales and other criminal activity.
Albert also oversaw the board when it hired — and ultimately declined to renew the contract of — former executive director Tyrone Garrett, who was pushed out amid a whistleblower lawsuit, more than $2 billion maintenance backlog and other controversies.