Feature: The Devil & Carl Greene

Is he a serial sexual harasser and tyrannical boss, as some of his former employees allege? Or is he the most effective public-housing leader in the history of Philadelphia, as he and his defenders contend? Or could Carl Greene, somehow, be both?

CARL GREENE CAN REALLY TALK. He’s been gone from Philadelphia for a few months now, but on this day a couple of weeks before Christmas, he shows up at his lawyer’s office near City Hall, materializing from his hideout in Maryland. Greene’s a bulky man in a dark gray suit, and at first his hooded eyes and wide mouth seem set in a smirk, as if he’s thinking, What do you want? But Carl Greene needs to talk. He needs to explain what he did for the people of Philadelphia.

“I probably relocated several thousand families in the time I was here. I’m talking four to five thousand families in the city of Philadelphia,” he says. “No one had ever done right by these people before — all community leaders wanted was to take care of themselves and their families. And no one really had the skill and commitment to turn around a mammoth housing authority like this ….”

The words go on, spinning rapidly and easily from Carl Greene, and they can be a little hard to take, at least if the allegations that have emerged about him in the past few months — which have cost him his job as head of the Philadelphia Housing Authority — are true. He’s been accused of sexually harassing women who work for him — charges he denies. PHA is being investigated by HUD and Congress for how it spent taxpayer dollars under Greene’s watch. He’s also been accused of throwing lavish parties for himself that employees paid for, and of being a nasty, overly demanding, vindictive boss. These things, too, he says are untrue, and he has initiated a lawsuit against the housing authority board, saying they had no right to fire him last September.

The problem is, there are many PHA staffers, current and ex, willing to tell more stories about Carl Greene. He was the sort of boss you never crossed, they say, for fear you’d come to work and find your desk moved out into the hall, or your salary slashed by $20,000, or that you’d been transferred to some PHA outpost in one of the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods. I heard quite a bit about all those things, too.

Greene is 54 years old, with a large, open face. He was once a promising high-school football player, a linebacker headed for a scholarship. But now his left arm hangs, withered and useless, the result of an injury in a game when he was 17 that severed nerves in his shoulder and changed his life’s direction. Now, as his life is changing again, as he is accused of being a bad man, he has come back today to remind us of all he accomplished.

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  • KJ

    I’m sorry, but Carl Greene gets no sympathy here! As a former Executive at PHA, I witness his abusive behavior towards too many employees up front and personally–The reprisals, dismissals, the tirades (particularly after his night out drinking),the unwanted solicitations, and vindictive behavior that he exhibited was very real for both male and female employees; Carl Greene fostered a culture of fear at PHA, period! The whisking off, or abduction (yes, I said abduction) of that Assist General Manager was indicative of how Carl Green ran a psycho-ops and his intent to induced compliance to even his personal pleasures; There are countless other women who experienced Carl’s psychotic behavior. I was particularly perturbed by his menacing treatment of anyone he perceived as standing in the way of his desires, his exploits! And, exploit he did…whether married or single, Carl would let no man, nothing, stand in his way! So, what do you know…the Real Carl, a tyrant, sexual predator, manipulator and Ego maniac, finally got in his own way! This man has a very dark and troubling side; I only wish that he had been stopped sooner and sought treatment–like before he came to Philadelphia! Rendell, Street, the…

  • Donna

    There is a very simple explanation for the riddle of Carl Green. He is a sociopath. Hollywood tells us that a sociopath is a serial killer. The truth is, most sociopaths never kill anyone. And one expert says that 1% of the general population are sociopaths, but 3% of corporate executives are sociopaths.

    A sociopath is a person with no heart, no conscience and no remorse. Green exhibits classic signs of this personality disorder: Egocentricity and grandiosity. Rage when challenged. Manipulation. Sexual aggression. Belief that the rules do not apply to him. Financial problems. Blaming others for anything that goes wrong. Sociopaths in business frequently bring organizations down. That’s what Green has done.

    I have written extensively about this case in the Lovefraud Blog. People need to be aware of this personality disorder – especially when they’re considering a candidate for a position of power and responsibility.

  • Betty

    Come drive around Southwest Center City and you’ll have no problem picking out the PHA houses. They’re the ones in disrepair housing drug dealers and dealers. No sympathy for Greene at all. He sat in his gated community at Naval Square while inflicting pestilence on the surrounding neighborhood.

  • Betty

    Come drive around Southwest Center City and you’ll have no problem picking out the PHA houses. They’re the ones in disrepair housing drug dealers and dealers. No sympathy for Greene at all. He sat in his gated community at Naval Square while inflicting pestilence on the surrounding neighborhood.

  • Norm

    Unfortunately Carl Green suffers from the same problem that many great leaders suffer from. Absolute power. Carl Green proved himself to be an effective leader in turning around the housing authority. This was such a monumental task that he became a trusted leader who was beyond question. It was at this point when the traits of many great leaders emerged. These traits are sociopathy and narcissism. The same internal drivers that are responsible for his great abilities are also at the root of his downfall. The old saying still rings true, “Absolute power corrupts, absolutely!” All public leaders need to learn from this and make certain that there are checks, balances and transparancy in all business practices.