Citing Harassment, Fayetteville Housing Authority Chairman Resigns

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) — Mike Emery, chairman of the Fayetteville Housing Authority board, is resigning effective Friday (Aug. 3), citing several incidents of personal harassment.

"Issues of late have shown to me a side of things locally that I care not to ever see again," Emery wrote in a letter dated Tuesday (July 31) to Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan and Deniece Smiley, executive director of the housing authority.

"When you managed to get on the unpopular side of a group, person, or issue, you can expect some resistance. However, the torment I have witnessed .... is nothing short of vicious," Emery wrote.

"Verbal attacks in person, electronic harassment via social media ... add to the fear that goes along with having all your personal contact information, including home address, spread around by groups and individuals seeking to pressure and intimidate."

Emery went to call the harassment "relentless," adding that Smiley and housing authority staff have also been targeted.

The letter doesn't identify the source of the alleged harassment. Emery and Smiley declined to comment Wednesday (Aug. 1).

Emery spent two years on the housing board, but wrote that he couldn't "contemplate going any further on a city board given the present environment."

Emery said he plans to continue his "charitable endeavors," but asks that someone "step into prevent the harassment and unprofessional treatment being extended to" Smiley and housing authority staff.

"They are hard-working individuals trying with all of their might to do what is right for the low-income residents of Fayetteville and Washington County," Emery wrote. "They deserve to be treated with respect and dignity in their day-to-day duties."

The authority owns and maintains three complexes -- Hillcrest Towers, Lewis Plaza and Willow Heights -- which are eligible for low-income residents, the elderly and the disabled.

Morgan Manor, a former housing authority property, was converted to Project Based Rental Assistance, which allows low-income households to contract with private owners to rent units in a housing development.

The city clerk is accepting applications for Emery's vacancy. The deadline to apply is Aug. 17. Stop by the office at 113 W. Mountain St. or call 479-575-8323 for more information.