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3 New York City Housing Officials Resign

May 7, 2003

NEW YORK (AP) _ Three top city housing officials resigned under pressure on Tuesday as authorities investigated alleged corruption in an agency responsible for developing low- and middle-income housing.

The office of Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement that the officials failed to protect the interests of the Housing Development Corporation.

The resignations came from Charles Brass, president of the Housing Development Corporation; David Boccio, its senior vice president and general counsel; and Harry Fried, the agency’s senior vice president and chief financial officer.

The three men did not report for work Tuesday and did not return phone calls seeking comment. An agency spokeswoman also declined comment.

They resigned one day after Luke Cusack, 32, a top aide to former agency president Russell Harding, pleaded guilty in federal court to helping his boss embezzle money and take vacations at public expense.

Harding is accused of using hundreds of thousands of dollars in public money on personal items. He has pleaded innocent and is scheduled to go on trial July 7.

Harding, 38, was placed under investigation last year after a series of articles in The Village Voice. He is the son of Ray Harding, a confidant and political supporter of former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Giuliani appointed the younger Harding to the housing post in 1998.

Brass replaced Harding as the head of the agency in 2002.