On the same day Ben Carson testified before Congress about the dire need to upgrade the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s computer systems, its chief information officer resigned amid corruption allegations.
Johnson Joy submitted his resignation to Carson on Tuesday, according to a report from The Guardian, and the secretary accepted. Whistleblower Katrina Hubbard, Joy’s former executive assistant, filed a complaint about potential corruption in the CIO’s office, including suspicious overpayments of a subcontractor.
Hubbard also claims that she was transferred and then fired after reporting the suspected fraud, with HUD citing job performance issues.
Joy first came under scrutiny last weekend, when The Guardian reported his connection to GJH Global Ministries, a religious charity that solicited donations but did not have a clear objective. The group’s website had mission statements copied from other churches, and was soon locked after The Guardian began asking questions about it.
“We literally did nothing,” GJH Global Ministries director Stephen Austin told a Guardian reporter.
Another HUD official who resigned amid questions about his background, Naved Jafry, was also involved in the charity; Jafry was a subcontractor associated with the same firm that allegedly received inflated payments.
The palace intrigue comes as Carson tries to weather the controversy surrounding his office’s attempted purchase of a $31,000 dining room set, which was cancelled amid critical news coverage. Carson was again thumped in the media for his response to the situation during a Congressional hearing Tuesday, in which he appeared to blame his wife — who is not a HUD employee — for arranging the purchase and claiming that the old furniture was a safety hazard.
During the same hearing, Carson repeatedly emphasized the importance of upgrading the Federal Housing Administration’s aging information technology infrastructure, which he claimed weathers 2,000 to 3,000 hacking attempts per week — and is based on software that dates back decades.
“We have to get the IT systems at FHA up to par. We are putting a lot of money and a lot of people in jeopardy by continuing this,” he said.
Written by Alex Spanko