Doug's Deals

Real estate consultant Williams continues to serve two masters

How the HHFC board of directors will ensure Williams doesn't violate that provision is unclear. The consultant has always been something of a lone wolf. While his HHFC contract has commanded fees as high as $120,000 a year, Williams has never been required to file written reports outlining his accomplishments, nor, until recently, has he been obligated to reveal his other sources of income.

How much Williams is being paid by Perry Homes is a mystery, though one must presume it's a fairly substantial amount. For one thing, his fee from HHFC has been cut drastically. This year Williams's contract with HHFC will pay him $16,500, well below the $100,000 he earned in 1999.

Whatever he's paid, Williams is on the HHFC payroll to serve the public's interest in making the Fourth Ward project a success. That means furthering HHFC's effort to build affordable housing in the Fourth Ward, as well as to help the agency recover $8 million in taxpayer funds.

Whether or not Williams can do that while serving the interests of a bottom-line-oriented company such as Perry Homes is a question worth asking.

E-mail Brian Wallstin at brian.wallstin@houstonpress.com.

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