A top administrator for the Northwest Oregon Housing Authority was fired in June following the results of an investigation into her conduct.
Among the allegations against former deputy director Teresa Sims was that she falsified records to secure affordable housing for her son and fellow employee, Benjamin Navidad.
Todd Johnston, the agency’s executive director, said Sims’ termination — and the termination of another employee for related reasons — was justified based on the investigation. But he would not go into detail, citing an ongoing lawsuit Sims filed against him and the agency earlier this year.
Krista Le Roux, a Portland attorney who represents Sims, said her client has no comment at this time. But she added that Sims plans to attend a housing authority board meeting in September to try to clear her name.
Sims was appointed deputy director at the housing authority in 2011. She supervised the federal housing choice voucher program staff and oversaw human resources.
After Sims was put on leave in April 2018 pending an investigation, she shot back with allegations of her own.
She filed complaints with the state Bureau of Labor and Industries against Johnston. She claimed he promoted an employee who wasn’t qualified for the position, obscured information and, with the nonprofit Helping Hands, mismanaged public funds. She also said Johnston created a fear of retaliation against anyone who reported problems.
Internal investigators for the housing authority refuted the claims and the state dismissed the labor complaints.
Sims filed a lawsuit in Circuit Court in February, alleging she faced retaliation from Johnston for speaking out about unlawful hiring practices and mismanaged funds. She is seeking $1 million in emotional and economic damages.
The housing authority has denied Sims’ claims. A trial is scheduled for January.