The Morning Report
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When the Centre City Development Corp. moved its offices this summer, its former president, Nancy Graham, spent $18,496.24 on new office furniture.
CCDC Chairman Fred Maas said that’s too much. He wants to sell the furniture on eBay. “I was appalled frankly at the extravagance of the acquisition,” Maas said.
Graham never sat in the furniture — she took leave and later resigned by the time CCDC moved. The board room at the new office was also outfitted with new chairs at a cost of about $12,000. Maas said those should also be sold on eBay.
Several CCDC staffers were aware of the purchases, including Graham’s assistant, Lori Young, and David Allsbrook, CCDC’s assistant vice president for contracting and public works. Both were included on an e-mail to Graham that contained an invoice for the purchase.
Maas said he was troubled that the expense wasn’t brought to anyone’s attention at the agency. “There was a sense that if it had been brought to our attention, there would have been retribution,” Maas said.
That issue has come up before in the wake of Graham’s July 24 resignation. She publicly declared in April that she had never been involved the negotiations of a $409-million skyscraper proposed downtown — despite having sat in on meetings with CCDC staff, who subsequently never reported the discrepancy in her story. Graham had a business relationship with the developer’s Florida affiliate.
Maas said the agency plans to address whistleblower protections as it updates its internal ethics policy, a step that may include designating one CCDC board member as an ombudsman for concerned staff.