On Monday, Trump party planner Lynne Patton assumed her role at the top of the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Region II, HUD's largest bureau, where she will oversee HUD operations in New York and New Jersey.
Patton's experience in government and housing amounts to a six-month stint as the department's director of public engagement, during which she organized director Ben Carson's speaking tour, on which he got stuck in an elevator.
Her appointment indicates the Trump administration's determination to distribute jobs to well-connected friends and relatives, regardless of their qualifications. The Israeli-Palestinian peace process, for example, is being handled by the president's son-in-law, a New York real estate developer. Affordable housing in New York, in turn, will be handled by the president's son's party planner. (We can only assume the ghost of Richard Holbrooke will be planning the president's parties, to complete the circle.)
Prior to her arrival in Washington, Patton helped plan Eric Trump's wedding and served as a vice president at his foundation, which is being investigated by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Her purview there, she writes on her LinkedIn profile, included overseeing "all foundation outreach & operations, high-net worth fundraising, event planning, social media and vendor/corporate partnerships."
The profile lists a "J.D. (N/A)" from Quinnipiac School of Law, which she attended but did not graduate, and Yale University, which she did not attend. However, her father did get a medical degree at Yale, a fact she noted in a speech at the Republican National Convention last summer.
The confirmation follows a little back and forth: Patton's promotion was announced on Wednesday, June 14. Two days later, following outraged statements from politicians in the region, HUD claimed the position was unfilled. Now, Patton is back in charge of HUD's largest regional office, Politico reports. Most previous appointees to the office have had a background in housing, and all have had experience in government.
Patton will be at the head of an organization that functions as a liaison between Washington and the New York City Housing Authority, or NYCHA, in addition to supervising the region's block grants and housing vouchers.
Last week, I wrote a little about the promise and problems of NYCHA:
NYCHA is widely considered a paragon of public housing, an enclave for service workers and the elderly in a very expensive city. The system also has an $18 billion backlog of repairs in addition to an operating deficit. “Housing conditions at NYCHA remain a tenant’s nightmare, with moldy units, holes in floors, and broken walls,” New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer said in April, announcing a brief on the maintenance concerns of NYCHA residents. The waiting list is still a quarter-million people long.
Let's get this party started!