HUD Appoints Four to Key Leadership Roles


J. Paul Compton Jr. has been appointed to lead the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Office of General Counsel, which provides advice and services to all HUD programs and activities.

In addition, HUD has announced the appointment of Suzanne Israel Tufts as assistant secretary for the office of administration; Leonard Wolfson as assistant secretary for congressional and intergovernmental relations; and Irving Dennis as chief financial officer.

Compton is an Alabama native with legal expertise in the areas of multifamily affordable housing finance, tax credit transactions and mortgage securitization. A former partner of the Birmingham-based law firm of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, he is listed by Chambers USA as one of America’s leading business lawyers on issues related to banking, finance and regulatory matters.

Compton also served as a legal advisor to the Alabama Affordable Housing Association, a trade organization for developers, property managers, lenders, investors and service providers for affordable housing.

He will now head up the OGC, which represents HUD in litigation and enforcement actions; provides legal services in the development, preparation and presentation of the Department’s legislative initiatives; has primary responsibility for the development of HUD program regulations; represents the department in multifamily finance transactions; and assists in the development of HUD programs and policies.

Tufts is a New York-based attorney with extensive experience in turnaround management. She served in operational roles in the public and not-for-profit sectors, including public housing authorities in New York State.

Tufts is a nationally recognized expert in the field of social programming in inner cities including microenterprises, education and women’s issues. She formerly served as president and CEO of the American Woman’s Economic Development Corporation (AWED), the nation’s first women’s entrepreneurship training center.

Following the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, Assistant Secretary Tuffs and AWED launched emergency small business crisis services for which she was recognized by President George W. Bush and then- Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao.

In her new role at HUD, Tufts will lead the agency’s Office of Administration, which is tasked with delivering administrative support and customer service to HUD employees nationwide. As HUD’s chief administrative officer, she will oversee the department’s human resources, contract procurement and training needs.

Wolfson previously served as associate vice president of legislative affairs for the Mortgage Bankers Association, where he helped the real estate finance industry recover from the financial crisis by advocating for a return to safe and sustainable lending. He also previously served as HUD’s General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Relation, during the George W. Bush administration. During that time, he led HUD’s successful legislative efforts to modernize the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.

In his new role as HUD’s assistant secretary of congressional and intergovernmental relations, Wolfson will serve as the principal advisor to the secretary, deputy secretary and senior staff on legislative affairs, congressional relations, and policy matters affecting federal, state and local governments, as well as public and private stakeholders.
Dennis was previously a global client service partner with Ernst & Young, LLP where he worked with several large multinational public companies in various industries. A CPA, he serves on several not-for-profit boards and has been a member of various accounting-related organizations.

As HUD’s chief financial officer, Dennis will be responsible for employing sound financial management practices across all of the agency’s program areas. He will oversee the accounting, budget and financial management for the agency’s budget and appropriations including processing millions of transactions each year to support HUD’s mission.

“Today, our bench got a lot deeper,” says Secretary of HUS Ben Carson, in a release. “These four outstanding individuals bring substantial experience to HUD at a moment when our Department is being called upon to excel as we support millions of our fellow citizens recovering from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.”

(left to right): Assistant Secretary Len Wolfson; General Counsel J. Paul Compton, Jr.; HUD Secretary Ben Carson; Assistant Secretary of Administration Suzanne Israel Tufts; and Chief Financial Officer Irv Dennis

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