An event planner who has worked for President Donald Trump’s family was named head of the federal housing office for New York and New Jersey, despite questions about her qualifications.
Lynne Patton, who previously worked for Trump’s son, Eric, planning events for his charitable foundation, will serve as Region II Director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Patton oversees nearly $7.7 billion in federal funding for affordable housing and anti-homelessness initiatives throughout the region, according HUD’s website.
Patton’s appointment to the $160,000-a-year post, announced in a news release, came nearly two weeks after news media reports that she had been tapped for the high profile position that Democrat Bill de Blasio, now New York’s mayor, held in President Bill Clinton’s administration.
“I am committed to advancing HUD’s mission and look forward to working with local stakeholders, housing authorities, elected officials, faith-based and community leaders to identify effective solutions for challenges currently facing New York and New Jersey,” Patton said in a statement.
Earlier this year, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson recruited Patton to serve as a senior adviser. In a statement, Carson credited Patton with organizing a “national listening tour” and said she worked to “identify potential reforms” in one of the agency’s workforce training programs.
“I have no doubt that Ms. Patton’s unique ability to engage and foster viable relationships across bipartisan silos will serve the region well,” Carson said, who noted she she would hve staff who have “served the area for years.”
Patton, a Westchester County resident, has faced criticism over her lack of government and housing sector experience from some Democrats and housing advocates. Last Friday, Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens), in a letter to Trump, said of her reported appointment: “This is not ‘The Apprentice’; the federal government is not your personal patronage system.”.
De Blasio said last week that, “folks in that role historically have had, you know, substantial background in government or in housing, et cetera.”