‘I expect this to go for a while’
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The fight appears far from finished. Fielder-Boyd and her friend Katherine Garry, a Broadway resident, have challenged Kondor at every turn, alleging that his decision to dismiss the tenant representatives was illegal and potentially racially motivated. Kondor, meanwhile, insists that he has provided Fielder-Boyd with every piece of correspondence he has received relating to her dismissal, and has done everything in his power to find a way to put her back in her seat.
“We’re not hiding anything from Cynthia whatsoever,” Kondor said. “She wants me to reinstate her, and I’m not going to do anything until I hear back from the lawyers.”
HUD’s directive that the board remove its two elected representatives was coupled with a second: Ask the state what to do about it. The state has answered, saying not only that state law does not require the village housing authority to have tenant representatives, but that there is no state-approved process for their removal.
“… HUD … needs to be consulted as to which option best effects their substantive requirement of having a compliant tenant member,” the letter read. “Without a more specific HUD directive as to the manner of compliance, RVCHA remains vulnerable to a claim that any response it chooses, violates state law and was not in accord with HUD’s preemptive authority.…”
Devlin, who helped lead the push to save Old Mill Court in 2006, agreed with Kondor. “Nobody on the board, including myself, wanted to see those two folks pushed off the board,” he said. “And it’s disheartening — after what I did to save that place, now you see this coming. It’s always something.
“I’ve had to shut down meetings,” Devlin continued. “I’ve had chairs thrown at me, I’ve had people lay across the table. And the people who live [at Old Mill Court] don’t understand how close we were to losing that whole place.”
The other dismissed tenant representative, Coleman, has remained out of the fray so far, but said he is convinced that the housing authority has tried to do the right thing. “All five of those board members are very nice people,” he said. “I don’t have any disagreements with none of them — not me, never. It’s not an easy job, but they’ve done a good one.”
Fielder-Boyd and Garry declined to comment.