HUD: Carson Delivers Oath of Office to Four New HUD Leaders
January 12, 2018
Compton, Tufts, Wolfson and Dennis sworn in to help lead Department during critical time
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has four new top leaders who are assuming key roles in the agency at the start of a new year and during a critical recovery period following last year’s devastating hurricanes. HUD Secretary Ben Carson administered the oath of office to the following individuals recently confirmed by the U.S. Senate: J. Paul Compton, Jr. to become HUD’s General Counsel; Suzanne Israel Tufts to be Assistant Secretary for the Office of Administration; Leonard Wolfson as Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations; and Irving Dennis to serve as Chief Financial Officer.
“Today, our bench got a lot deeper,” said Secretary Carson. “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.”
J. Paul Compton, Jr. will lead HUD’s Office of General Counsel which provides advice and services to all HUD programs and activities. OGC represents the department 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. General Counsel 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, Compton is listed by Chambers USA as one of America’s leading business lawyers on issues related to banking, finance and regulatory matters. He 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 is a Truman Scholar and a graduation of the University of Virginia School of Law.
Assistant Secretary Suzanne Israel Tufts will lead HUD’s Office of Administration tasked with delivering administrative support and customer service to HUD employees nationwide. As HUD’s chief administrative officer, Ms. Tufts will oversee the Department’s human resources, contract procurement and training needs. A New York-based attorney with extensive experience in turnaround management, Assistant Secretary Tufts served in operational roles in the public and not-for-profit sectors, including public housing authorities in New York State. Ms. 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 Chief Executive Officer 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. Ms. Tufts graduated summa cum laude with an A.B. in Bio-Medical Ethics from Princeton University in 1977, and graduated from the University of Virginia Law School where she was awarded a Dillard Fellowship.
As HUD’s Assistant Secretary of Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations, Len 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. Prior to his service at HUD, Assistant Secretary Wolfson 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 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. A Connecticut native, Mr. Wolfson also served his hometown congressional representative, Christopher Shays. He earned a B.A. in history and political science from the University of Connecticut.
Irv Dennis is HUD’s Chief Financial Officer responsible for employing sound financial management practices across all of the agency’s program areas. Mr. Dennis 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. Prior to his public service, Mr. Dennis was a Global Client Service Partner with Ernst & Young, LLP where he worked with several large multinational public companies in various industries. Mr. Dennis earned a B.S. Degree in business administration-accounting from Montclair State University and is a Certified Public Accountant. He serves on several not-for-profit boards and has been a member of various accounting-related organizations.