Administrator for HUD Grant Program Traded Apartment for Sex

by Jim Geraghty

Your tax dollars at work: The Department of Housing and Urban Development provides grants to programs like Project Reconnect “to help the formerly incarcerated find housing, counseling and jobs once they’re released.” At least, that’s the way it’s designed.

And then sometimes the money gets used like this:

From 2012 until last year, Hart worked for the city’s Housing Department as a caseworker for Project Reconnect, which uses federal dollars to help the formerly incarcerated find housing, counseling and jobs once they’re released. Problem was, Lawrence Hart helped someone who wasn’t even remotely qualified for the program get a Carrollton apartment at a deep discount using U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development dollars: Lawrence Hart. He got the place by using someone else’s name on the application; court docs refer only to a “Person A.”

That was bad enough. But Hart also admitted to federal prosecutors earlier this year that he helped a woman, known only as Person B, get an apartment through Project Reconnect. Here’s how he did it, according to court records: “Hart propositioned her for sex and expedited Person B being placed in an apartment because she agreed to have sex with Hart.” He kicked her out in January 2013, only after the woman broke up with him.

The good news that former caseworker will spend 15 months behind bars, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office, and has also been ordered to pay back $8,619.