HUD Official Who Planned Eric Trump’s Wedding Just Kicked Off a Monthlong Publicity Stunt

Lynne Patton is moving into New York City public housing for a month.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

After saying that the government shutdown delayed her plans, Department of Housing and Urban Development Regional Administrator Lynne Patton is moving into New York City’s public housing for one month. Patton, who once organized events for members of the Trump family (including Eric Trump’s wedding), was appointed by HUD Secretary Ben Carson in 2017 to oversee the country’s largest public housing system despite having zero housing experience.

On Facebook, Patton said she would be living in four different properties with four different families. “I have my own inflatable bed, towel, portable chargers, and will be purchasing all groceries for the family for the duration, so not to generate any undue expenses.” 

The move comes on the heels of a historic deal between the New York City Housing Authority and HUD. In the coming weeks, HUD will be selecting a federal monitor who will report directly to HUD but be paid by the city to oversee the ailing public housing system. New York needs a whopping $32 billion in capital repairs to fix the buildings that house more than 400,000 residents. The NYCHA was subjected to a federal investigation after several scandals, including residents living without heat for years and reports that children were exposed to lead paint

Patton’s first stop on her public housing tour is the Patterson Houses in the South Bronx. Residents and Patton complained that the NYCHA was taking steps to clean up the property simply because of the high-profile visit. “As I anticipated and declared in countless interviews leading up to my move-in,” she wrote on Facebook, “NYCHA is making immediate repairs on the ground (as they do whenever I come to visit one of their properties—lobbies are cleaned, trash is picked up, elevators work, etc).”

“This is actually the cleanest I’ve seen it in a while. There’s usually garbage all over,” one resident told the New York Post.

So far, Patton has posted videos of herself joining residents in a fitness class and preparing the tub for a shower.

Patton says she wants her stay to improve the lives of NYCHA residents, but some of the people living in the dilapidated buildings don’t have much hope—or even know who she is. “Who the hell is Lynne Patton?” Carline Campbell, a Patterson Houses resident, told the New York Daily News. “Anything from Trump I don’t trust. I don’t think she wants to help.”

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.