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Little Rock housing board members are not leaving their positions

Attorney Sylvester Smith presents plans to represent the housing board at a meeting.
Josie Lenora
Little Rock Public Radio
Attorney Sylvester Smith presents plans to represent members of the Little Rock Housing Authority board at a meeting Thursday.

Board members of the Little Rock Housing Authority (also known as the Metropolitan Housing Alliance) are not stepping down.

Last week, all five board members were asked to step down by Mayor Frank Scott Jr., including board Chairman Lee Lindsey. In a letter, Scott cited “failures” in their job performance. Among them is the board's lack of correctly audited records. The mayor alleged that “hundreds of thousands” of expenditures from the organization were “untraceable.”

City Attorney Tom Carpenter said he didn’t want board members to leave immediately. He asked the board to “continue progress” in providing the correct records to the city.

“The actual employees from [the Metropolitan Housing Alliance] really do need to stay in place until we can get to a final analysis of all the economic business,” he said.

He said the board was doing “what they could to help the people the most.”

Chairman Lee Lindsey asked if anyone on the board wanted to resign. When no one replied, he said they needed “to make a course of action.”

Attorney Sylvester Smith said he stands prepared to “mount a defense on behalf of the housing board.”

“As your lawyer your advocate and someone who is deeply concerned about housing in this community, I believe the prudent posture for the city to take would be to follow the same advice their lawyer gave you, which is to stand pat,” he said. “At least for 30, 60, 90 days.”

He pledged to represent the housing board saying they are “innocent until proven guilty.” Two commissioners’ terms end on Sept. 30. The members of the housing board are expected to go before the city council on Tuesday.

Josie Lenora is the Politics/Government Reporter for Little Rock Public Radio.