A longtime associate of President Trump’s family, who organized golf tournaments on the president’s courses and planned his son Eric’s wedding, will soon oversee billions of federal dollars as the head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s New York and New Jersey office.
Lynne Patton had been working as a senior adviser and director of public engagement at HUD for several months before Ben Carson, the department secretary, recommended her for the new role, a person close to Mr. Carson said. Before that, Ms. Patton had no experience in housing policy.
The appointment of a Trump family loyalist to a key government post fits a pattern. His daughter Ivanka and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, work in White House offices. Dan Scavino Jr., who was the president’s caddie, is the director of social media. His longtime bodyguard, Keith Schiller, has become such an important White House figure that he hand-delivered the dismissal papers to James Comey, the former F.B.I. director.
Nonetheless, the appointment of Ms. Patton elicited incredulous responses in New York.
“Like many things in the Trump universe, we’re dealing with things we’ve never seen before,” Mayor Bill de Blasio, who held the same post during the Clinton administration, said in a weekly radio interview on WNYC. “Folks in that role historically have had substantial background in government or in housing.”
Representative Grace Meng, Democrat of New York, wrote a letter to the president, demanding Ms. Patton’s immediate removal. Ms. Patton doesn’t start the job until July 5.
“This is not The Apprentice; the federal government is not your personal patronage system,” Ms. Meng wrote.
While the administrator of HUD’s Region II office does not have direct control over the agency’s budget, the office chief does promote and administer federal policies and direct feedback from New York and New Jersey to headquarters in Washington. Office administrators also help coordinate federal programs in their region, which can include public housing, mortgage insurance, block grants and homeless assistance.
Ms. Patton succeeds Holly Leicht, who came to the job after working for a parks advocacy group and in the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
The New York Daily News, which first reported the appointment, ran a front-page story with a photo of Ms. Patton alongside the headline “The Wedding Scammer.”
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SOURCE: NY Times, Yamiche Alcindor and J. David Goodman