Michael P. Bowler, the attorney handling the complaint investigation says he can't comment. "The proceedings at this point are confidential," Bowler says.
According to Bowler, if the Statewide Grievance Committee's local panel decides that there is probable cause to continue the conflict of interest case, then there would be public hearings and the records in the case would also be public. That decision could take months, and if the complaint is dismissed there will be no comment from the grievance committee at all, Bowler says.
In both Ansonia and Wallingford, the need for some outside help came about because of controversies and scandals that resulted in the abrupt departures of top housing authority officials.
In Ansonia, James Finnucan resigned as executive director of that city's housing authority in December 2011. A former mayor, Finnucan was accused of a conflict of interest for violating federal housing ethics policies by owning a publicly subsidized rental unit overseen by the Ansonia Housing Authority.
In Wallingford, allegations of misuse of funds and mismanagement of that community's public housing authority were followed by the resignation of its chairman, William Fischer, in 2011.
Whatever happens with the complaint against Young Smith, questions remain about New Haven housing authority's dramatically expanded role in the region.
McKinney says as long as local housing authorities in Bridgeport, Ansonia and Wallingford retain ultimate control over their local operations, it doesn't appear that they have much to worry about.
He also points out that changes in federal law would be required for New Haven's organization to become "one authority doing housing for an entire region."
At the same time, it does seem curious that HANH doesn't need to hire any more staff to handle twice as many public housing units as it took care of before it began expanding beyond New Haven's borders.