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HUD Investigating Sex-For-Repairs Allegations

P. Kenneth Burns

Baltimore's housing commissioner says federal officials are investigating allegations that some maintenance men demanded sexual favors in exchange for repairs at city housing projects.

Housing Commissioner Paul Graziano said Wednesday that the inspector general of U.S. Housing and Urban Development is looking into the allegations. He says the housing authority is cooperating with the HUD probe.

Graziano told reporters on Wednesday that he was unaware of the sex-for-repairs allegations "in any actionable way" until a lawsuit was filed last month.

Eleven women living at three public housing complexes have sued, alleging that maintenance workers demanded sexual favors.

Graziano says the housing authority has taken "very severe personnel actions" and that he is barred from discussing details.

He met with some residents Monday to talk about the conditions of their homes.  He said there is a backlog of $800 million in repairs that need to be made and that the agency can only afford “band-aids” to fix problems.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has staunchly defended Graziano since the allegations surfaced.  She called him one of the country's leading housing commissioners.

WYPR's P. Kenneth Burns contributed to this report.