Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Passaic City Housing Chief Resigns

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Passaic City Housing Chief Resigns

Article excerpt

The embattled chairman of the Passaic City Housing Authority, a man with deep ties to the community who now faces cocaine distribution and weapons charges, resigned Thursday as head of the agency, city officials said.

Darien Allen submitted his resignation to the Housing Authority's executive director, Victor Cirilo, who then sent a copy to the municipal clerk's office, city spokesman Keith Furlong said.

Furlong said he had not seen a copy of the letter as of Thursday evening but was told Allen wrote that he is unable to fulfill his duties under the "current circumstances."

Allen, 44, was arrested Tuesday night after police searched his Pennington Avenue home and said they found 40 grams of cocaine and a 9mm handgun, along with various drug-packaging materials. Authorities said the arrest was the result of a three-month investigation, but they did not say what initiated it.

They have said the charges are not tied to alleged drug activity at housing authority properties, which led to the arrest of 70 people during a law enforcement sting at Speer Village late last year. Dozens of people arrested in the sting pleaded guilty to disorderly persons offenses in May. City officials said that 10 families were evicted from public housing as a result of the arrests.

Federal authorities, who fund the Housing Authority with $15 million annually and regulate its oversight of the city's public housing, said Thursday that they were monitoring the case, and were prepared to suspend Allen from the authority's board if he was indicted on criminal charges. They made that statement before news of Allen's resignation was made public.

"The allegations against Chairman Allen are extremely serious in nature," Adam Glantz, a spokesman for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, said in the statement. He added that HUD would seek Allen's "immediate suspension from participation in federal programs" if he is indicted and that the department would "continue to work with the Passaic Housing Authority to ensure that resident services are not impacted. …

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