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?


“I was trying to do good in measurable ways,” Green says now, “so that I could get that positive interaction from people.”

Just as he did as a little boy, through sports, through getting good grades. Winning praise, and a place in the world. But the psychic pain of his injury and isolation never went away, and it’s still palpable, as chronic physical pain, in his left arm.
But Greene didn’t just bury himself in work; the nuts and bolts of PHA became his emotional life. I confirmed with him that he has never married — I had heard the rumor within the agency that Greene is secretly wed to a senior employee.

“No, I never married,” he says. Then, in the next breath: “But I dedicated my life to achieving things and making things happen, and understanding systems and building systems, and understanding technology and building technology, and making infrastructure and systems work. Part of what you see at PHA today is an infrastructure. You see technology, you see buildings built with community centers and health centers, and supports, a whole infrastructure that — ”

I interrupt to ask a question: “Has there been anyone in your life you could go to, to talk about how you really felt?”

Carl Greene is uncharacteristically silent for a moment. Then, very softly, he answers: “No.”

OVER THE YEARS, Madeline Rodriguez has worked a variety of jobs at PHA, and sometimes quite closely with Carl Greene. A few days before Christmas, she tells me a story, with her lawyer listening in, about something she says happened back in 2001, when she was an assistant general manager.

One afternoon, Madeline got a call on the cell phone that Carl Greene had given her. Even though she was conducting a meeting with other managers, she excused herself, went out into the hall and took the call. Carl Greene had told her she had to answer that phone whenever it rang.

Greene told Madeline to come downstairs — she was at a Section 8 office near 30th and Market — to see him. Never mind the meeting. So Madeline excused herself, grabbed her jacket — leaving her purse behind — and left.

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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.