Baltimore Housing Commissioner Graziano resigns

Paul T. Graziano at Mayor Catherine Pugh's inauguration. (The Daily Record / Maximilian Franz)

Paul T. Graziano at Mayor Catherine Pugh’s inauguration. (The Daily Record / Maximilian Franz)

Embattled longtime Baltimore Housing Commissioner Paul T. Graziano leaves office next month.

Mayor Catherine Pugh announced Graziano’s resignation, effective Jan. 6, on Tuesday. Deputy Commissioner Michael Braverman will serve as the interim commissioner.

Graziano has been under fire since last year when public housing tenants alleged maintenance workers requested sexual favors in return for making repairs. Baltimore Housing eventually settled a lawsuit with those tenants for $8 million.

During the campaign Pugh said she wanted Graziano out as housing commissioner. But after taking office she questioned whether he could be forced out as the head of the Housing Authority of Baltimore City, which is not a city agency.

Previously the commissioner served as the head of both the Housing Authority of Baltimore City and the Department of Housing and Community Development. Pugh said that she intends to separate those agencies in her administration.

“I am very excited to put my vision into action and begin a national search to have the best and the brightest lead our two housing agencies,” Pugh said in a statement. “Just 10 days into my administration, I am keeping one of my central pledges to the people of Baltimore, to reinvigorate both these agencies with a renewed sense of urgency in meeting the critical housing needs in Baltimore. I am grateful to Michael Braverman for serving in this interim role.”