HUD Chief Jackson Resigns Under Pressure

The Bush administration's top housing official resigned Monday amid a criminal investigation and a lawsuit over alleged favoritism in awarding contracts.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson did not say why he was stepping down, but some prominent Democrats in Congress have called for his resignation.

"There comes a time when one must attend more diligently to personal and family matters. Now is such a time for me," he said. His resignation will take effect on April 18.

Jackson, 62, has been fending off allegations of cronyism and favoritism involving HUD contractors for the past two years. The FBI has been examining the ties between Jackson and a friend who was paid $392,000 by Jackson's department as a construction manager in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Jackson has denied any wrongdoing.

He is also being sued by the housing authority in Philadelphia because he allegedly interfered with a land deal there.

Jackson's resignation comes at a difficult time for President Bush's agenda to deal with the mortgage crisis.

Falling prices and rising rates of home foreclosures have led to a major economic downturn. Congress is considering a number of options to reform the housing and mortgage industries.

From NPR and wire reports

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