D.C.’s inspector general is now investigating whistleblower allegations of potentially criminal behavior among leadership at the District’s Housing Authority.
An independent investigation found sufficient grounds to discipline one of its commissioners who allegedly threatened and harassed agency staff.
A law firm hired by the District of Columbia Housing Authority to investigate staff concerns about Commissioner Antonio Taliaferro found sufficient grounds he broke the Board’s Standards of Conduct.
The Venable law firm’s investigation report, which WTOP obtained, detailed interviews with seven employees, and sources close to the investigation said up to 20 employees were identified to be interviewed.
One woman told investigators that she filed an anti-stalking order against Taliaferro after he allegedly threatened her when she would not arrange a housing transfer for his nephew.
“When she told Commissioner Taliaferro he could not ask her for favors for his nephew, he got aggressive and told her she needed to ‘get the job done or I’ll get rid of all your asses,'” the report said.
Taliaferro, who oversees senior and disabled housing for DCHA, had no authority to terminate any employees, according to specific requirements set forth in the board’s standard, which reads: “The appointment, supervision, and management of the Authority’s employees is the sole responsibility of the Executive Director.”
Taliaferro allegedly asked another employee he often texted after hours to co-sign a car loan or be demoted. Another said she considered getting a protective order against him, as she was so distressed by his aggression.
DCHA commissioned the investigation into Taliaferro, and its findings dated Sept. 13 were addressed to its general counsel, former commission chair, who is now under investigation, and all its commissioners, including Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio.
This report comes to light as the D.C. Inspector General told council members it will expand the scope of its investigation of the D.C. Housing Authority after allegations of staff stealing housing vouchers, its former Chief Commissioner Neil Albert awarding a multimillion-dollar contract to a female companion, and that leadership misused resources for personal gain.
In its letter confirming it plans to take on a full investigation of the agency, the inspector general’s office nudged lawmakers to change the legislation that “prevents the OIG from independently initiating an investigation at DCHA without a council request.”
Mayor Muriel Bowser has called for a Board of Ethics investigation into the agency but did not comment on Taliaferro’s status.