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?


It was a chilling performance, though when I ask him about it, Greene says that he didn’t “think that I was personal,” and tells me again and again, talking faster and faster, the problem was that “I really can’t pretend to be equal — my training should be among other CEOs, not in that kind of environment.” The lawyer he confronted, Sybil Bryant, still lives in Mount Airy, but quit working for PHA. She now commutes up the New Jersey Turnpike to Newark’s housing authority, nearly two hours away from Carl Greene.

He was a horror of a boss. But there’s another explanation, one that doesn’t excuse Greene’s behavior but attempts to understand his vulnerability: There was no division in Carl Greene, between the person and the housing executive. He lived his job. Which is what made him transcendent on the nuts-and-bolts level of it.

But, more sensitive? More understanding?

It was very simple. Sybil Bryant wasn’t trying to give advice. She wasn’t performing an exercise that Greene himself had set up.

She was attacking Carl Greene where he lived. And of course he couldn’t stand idly by and let that happen.

, Greene says, is not far behind. He also says, “I don’t know that I ever really repaired my identity and who I built my psychology around being. I don’t know that I ever really repaired that.”

Now Greene has reemerged to sue the housing authority board for wrongful termination. A former PHA executive says that, in denying the sexual harassment allegations, Greene claims that those suits are common against CEOs of big organizations, that they’re typically brought by a disgruntled employee, or one who misread interpersonal signals, or one out to make a buck.  

It’s a bad end all the way around. Ed Rendell, who brought Greene to the city in the first place, calls his firing “a tragedy for the people in public housing and the people of Philadelphia.”

Though Rendell, too, was not ignorant of Greene’s more difficult side. Early on, a
story circulated that a particular PHA employee on whom Greene had been very, very hard went home on a Friday and dropped dead of a heart attack. So Rendell’s standard greeting of Carl Greene became: “Hey Carl, did you kill anybody today?”

Great men, after all, are not good.

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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.