ALPHONSO JACKSON UNDER INVESTIGATION!

DID HE GET A FRIEND A CONTRACT IN NEW ORLEANS?

It was just weeks ago when HUD secretary Alphonso Jackson appeared in a Houston courtroom and was critical of former TSU President Dr. Priscilla Slade. He questioned her honesty in the TSU criminal case. Now the federal government is questioning Jackson’s honesty. Here’s the latest information on the former Texas resident:

The FBI is examining the ties between Housing Secretary Alphonso Jackson and a friend who was paid $392,000 by Jackson’s department as a construction manager in New Orleans, three federal law enforcement officials said Thursday.

Jackson’s friend got the job after the HUD secretary asked a staff member to pass along his name to the Housing Authority of New Orleans, a spokesman for Jackson said in a statement.

At the time, the housing authority was in desperate need of a construction manager because there was a severe shortage of reputable local contractors after Hurricane Katrina, the spokesman for Jackson said.

The inquiry was first reported by The National Journal, which identified the contractor as William Hairston of Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. The magazine’s Web site said Hairston and Jackson are social friends and golfing buddies.

Three federal law enforcement officials confirmed that an investigation is underway. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the preliminary nature of the inquiry.

Jackson issued a statement saying: “I intend to fully cooperate with any possible investigation and to clear my name.”