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The Globe and Mail

Troubled housing agency names new president

The Toronto Community Housing Corp. will get a new president this summer as it works to get its financial affairs in order.

Eugene Jones, currently the executive director of the Detroit Housing Commission, will begin as president and CEO of the corporation in June.

He will replace Len Koroneos, Toronto Community Housing's chief financial officer, who has served as interim CEO since March, 2011. The previous CEO, Keiko Nakamura, was fired last year following a damning Auditor-General's report on the corporation's spending and procurement practices.

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Bud Purves, chair of the Toronto Community Housing board, said he hopes the change in leadership will help the housing authority recover its reputation and rebuild trust among tenants and taxpayers.

The new CEO will have to address the corporation's massive repair backlog, last pegged at $751-million, and the toxic relationship that has developed between the city's biggest landlord and some of its tenants.

Reports from the Auditor-General released in February show some troubling accounting practices persisted at Toronto Community Housing even after its board was overhauled last year. The reports said a subsidiary of the corporation had paid $25,000 for an audit that wasn't conducted and noted that its 120-car fleet has been managed without a contract for the past 10 years.

Councillor John Parker, who sits on the new board, said Mr. Jones was chosen, in part, because he has a record of turning around troubled agencies. The incoming CEO worked in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and has led housing agencies in Detroit, Indianapolis and Kansas City, according to a press release from Toronto Community Housing.

"It's a matter of record that [Toronto Community Housing]has come through a troubled time," Mr. Parker said. "We need to turn things around."

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