President Trump chooses inexperienced woman who planned his son Eric’s wedding to run N.Y. federal housing programs
She’s arranged tournaments at Trump golf courses, served as the liaison to the Trump family during his presidential campaign, and even arranged Eric Trump’s wedding.
Now President Trump has appointed longtime loyalist Lynne Patton — who has zero housing experience and claims a law degree the school says she never earned — to run the office that oversees federal housing programs in New York.
Patton was appointed Wednesday to head up the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Region II, which includes New York and New Jersey, where she’ll oversee distribution of billions of taxpayer dollars.
Patton’s tight relationship with the Trump clan dates back to 2009, when she began serving as the family’s “event planner.”
“Responsible for organizing, executing and assisting with upscale events and celebrity golf tournaments,” her LinkedIn profile says. “Handle celebrity talent acquisition for various marketing projects, philanthropic events and golf tournaments.”
From 2011 through January, she also helped run the Eric Trump Foundation, a charity that’s now under investigation by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
She also claims on her LinkedIn page to have obtained a juris doctorate degree in 2000 from Quinnipiac University School of Law in Connecticut. Next to the J.D. notation is written (N/A) without explanation.
On Thursday school registrar Jim Benson said Patton attended for two semesters but did not graduate.
She also listed Yale University but HUD officials couldn’t explain why that was there. Patton, who begins her Region II job July 5, did not return calls seeking comment.
As head of the biggest HUD regional office in the U.S., Patton will oversee distribution of billions in cash to public housing authorities — including NYCHA — as well as tens of thousands of rental vouchers and block grants that fund housing inspections and senior citizen programs.
Patton is one of the handful of African Americans within Trump’s inner circle and a passionate Trump promoter. Last year she made a video entitled “I’m proof Donald Trump isn’t a bigot.”
Trump first placed her as a White House liaison at HUD in February. While there, she’s fired off multiple flamethrowing tweets for him and his family.
When comedian Kathy Griffin tweeted a photo May 30 holding a phony bloody Trump head, Patton tweeted, “To date I’ve always had a mutual respect for opinions on the other side of the aisle but tonight @kathygriffin can go f–k herself.”
On June 9, she retweeted a cartoon about leaks depicting Trump taking a wrench to a leaky pipe upon which ex-FBI Director James Comey’s head was affixed. She wrote “Just when you think you’ve fixed them all, another one pops up.”
Last month she defended HUD Secretary Ben Carson after he said poverty was a state of mind, and cheered Budget Director Mick Mulvaney’s statement that Team Trump is “no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or the number of people on those programs but by the number of people we help get off those programs.”
Patton has also had to defend her role as former vice president at Eric Trump’s foundation. Forbes last week reported the charity steered money to the Trump empire by holding events at Trump golf courses while she was there. She said nothing untoward happened at the charity.
Eric Trump left the charity Dec. 31; Patton left in January.
Last month she paid a surprise visit to NYCHA but never actually entered a NYCHA apartment.
During the May 5 visit, she asked to see a community center that had fallen into disrepair at the McKinley Houses in the Bronx. NYCHA Chairwoman Shola Olatoye said the agency staff who escorted Patton said she was “less interested in the actual infrastructure and more interested in an old clipping of the community center that was all glass and steel and now is struggling.”
“I think the reaction was surprise, maybe a little bit horrified,” Olatoye said.
Nearly 70% of NYCHA’s operational budget and 100% of its capital repair budget comes from HUD. The authority’s aging buildings need an estimated $17 billion in upgrades.
The Region II director’s position had been vacant since Jan. 20.