Atlanta Housing Authority board member Brandon Riddick-Seals was appointed Tuesday, May 8, 2018, as interim CEO of the affordable housing agency. J. Scott Trubey/strubey@ajc.com
Photo: J. Scott Trubey
Photo: J. Scott Trubey

Atlanta Housing Authority names interim leader, plans CEO search

The board of the Atlanta Housing Authority on Tuesday named board member Brandon Riddick-Seals as interim CEO, and announced plans for a national search for a new leader.

The board announced it accepted the resignation of chief executive Catherine Buell, pending a separation agreement. Buell was one of seven senior city of Atlanta leaders whose resignations Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms accepted April 27. The officials were holdovers from the administration of former Mayor Kasim Reed.

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Channel 2's Richard Belcher said the move shows how Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms continues to move away from the previous mayor.

Riddick-Seals, a real estate executive, joined the AHA board in 2015. His LinkedIn bio lists his ownership of development firm, RS Companies, and experience with construction company Brasfield & Gorrie.

Market-rate development since the end of the recession has far outpaced development of low-income and affordable housing units. That’s led to soaring rents in the city, and critics have said AHA has failed to develop new units to help combat rising housing costs.

Riddick-Seals said the agency needs to ensure there’s a balance of affordable housing to help prevent displacement.

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Buell was appointed authority president and CEO in 2016 after a battle between Reed and the previous housing authority chief, Renee Glover. Buell was a key Reed ally, and worked with the former mayor to complete the purchase of the Atlanta Civic Center for a planned mixed-use, mixed-income community.

Reed and Buell, meanwhile, pursued litigation against Glover and prominent Atlanta developer Egbert Perry over land deals during Glover’s tenure. The city recently dropped a lawsuit alleging Glover and Perry forged a backroom deal to build upscale homes on 80 acres of vacant land set aside for low-income residents.

A separate AHA suit also was dismissed. Perry’s counterclaims, however, are pending in court.

Riddick-Seals said he is not concerned about the litigation.

“We have a team, and I trust our staff, and I am looking forward to coming into the office tomorrow and putting our heads together and coming up with solutions to move affordable housing forward,” he said.

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