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?


This was odd — the PHA financial whiz who was being paid more than 300 grand a year in financial trouble? It got odder: In the days after the story appeared in the Inquirer, Greene suddenly stopped coming to work. The PHA board couldn’t get in touch with him, nor could his PHA spokesman.

A few days later, Greene emerged to announce that he was taking a break from PHA and to offer, via the Inquirer, “my most humble apologies to the world.”

His problems got worse the following week: It came to light that PHA insurers had agreed to settle a sexual harassment suit against him for $250,000. Then, a few days after that, we learned that PHA had agreed to settle three other sexual harassment suits against him, without the board’s knowledge, for a grand total of almost a million dollars. Greene was toast. On September 23rd, the PHA board — led by former mayor John Street — fired him.

When someone close to him — as close, at any rate, as Carl Greene would allow anyone — was finally able to get him on the phone at his townhouse, Greene was largely incoherent, not making sense at all. The friend thought that everything, including 12 years of nonstop pressure to reform the authority, had caught up to Greene and that he was cracking up. His lawyer, John Esty, soon escorted Greene to an inpatient treatment facility in Maryland.

It is really not all that unusual, of course, for men of some accomplishment to be exposed for being personal train wrecks. We love discovering the bad behavior, even as we find the extremes residing in the same person stupefying.

A PHA executive who worked closely with Greene says that he was “a revelation.” But not in the good sense: “Here’s a guy I’m watching up close every day, doing great things, but being a bastard at the same time. In my view of the world, a guy doing great things would be an equally great guy behind the scenes.”

But is that ever the case? Not here, it seems, not by a long shot. But like any downfall, it’s not so simple — trouble had been building for a long, long time.

If you first take a look at what Greene confronted coming in as the savior of our public housing — it’s really pretty astounding, the challenge he took on, when he arrived in town.

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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.