President Trump has named Lynne Patton, senior adviser during his presidential campaign and former vice president of the Eric Trump Foundation, as the head of federal housing programs in New York.
On Wednesday, Trump appointed Patton to head the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Region II, which includes New York and New Jersey. She’ll act as a senior adviser to Ben Carson, the secretary of housing and urban development, and manage a $49 billion budget, various grant programs and federal funding for the region.
The new head of the biggest HUD regional office has no experience in housing. The Eric Trump Foundation, where she worked from 2009 to 2017, is now under fire following a Forbes report alleging that the charity funneled donations back into the Trump Organization, and recently became the subject of a fraud investigation by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Patton defended the foundation in a statement on Twitter, calling the claims “reckless & unsubstantiated.”
Patton, who began working with the Trumps in 2009, has planned numerous events for the family, including golf tournaments, Eric Trump’s 2014 wedding at Mar-a-Lago and charity events.
According to LinkedIn, Patton graduated from the University of Miami. Patton, who claims on her profile that she attended law school at Quinnipiac University School of Law for two years, actually attended for only two semesters, according to the New York Daily News. Patton also lists Yale University on her profile under the “Education” section but does not claim a degree or list the years she attended.
A Trump loyalist, Patton has displayed her unwavering dedication to the Trump family numerous times, most notably in a video called “The Trump Family I Know — A Black Female Trump Executive Speaks Out,” in which she defends the president against allegations of racism, noting that he’s hired “more minority and female executives than any other company for which I’ve worked.”
At the Republican National Convention in 2016, Patton reminded minority voters that “Donald Trump knows that your life matters,” speaking about Trump’s dedication to minority groups.
Like the president, Patton is an avid Twitter user, using the social media platform to praise the president and his family, defend Carson’s claim that poverty is a state of mind and criticize the leaking of memos by former FBI director James Comey.
U.S. Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., demanded that Trump remove Patton from the HUD job in a letter to the president Friday.
Frankly, serving as your family’s event planner and as an employee of the Eric Trump Foundation, which is currently under investigation by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for criminal activities, does not qualify an individual to serve as [HUD head],” Meng wrote. “This not The Apprentice; the federal government is not your personal patronage system. On behalf of every New Yorker who relies on NYCHA to survive, I ask you to start acting as such.”
Patton visited the New York City Housing Authority in May but did not enter a NYCHA apartment. NYCHA Chairwoman Shola Olatoye told the New York Daily News that Patton’s reaction was “surprise, maybe a little bit horrified” when she visited a community center in the Bronx.
Patton will begin her new HUD job July 5.
Read more from Yahoo News:
Photos: Shooting at GOP baseball practice in Alexandria, Va.