Willoughby Mariano

Willoughby Mariano is on the AJC's watchdog team and an expert on housing and criminal justice issues. Contact her at wmariano@ajc.com.

Latest from Willoughby Mariano

Guess who the feds are feeding Cheez-its for dinner?
 One Baby Ruth: 32 grams of sugar One pack of Airheads candy: 9 grams of sugar A bag of Cheez-Its: 320 milligrams of sodium A tin of Armour BBQ Potted Meat: 1,300 milligrams of sodium The federal government paid this company for boxes of these meals, which contain more than an entire day’s recommended intake...

Posted: 4 days ago

One Baby Ruth: 32 grams of sugar One pack of Airheads candy: 9 grams of sugar A bag of Cheez-Its: 320 milligrams of sodium A tin of Armour BBQ Potted Meat: 1,300 milligrams of sodium The federal government paid this company for boxes of these meals, which contain more than an entire day’s recommended intake...
Puerto Rico food aid from Ga. contractor sparks outrage
 When families in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico asked for food, a Georgia company answered the call with candy bars. Baby Ruths, to be exact. Also fruity Airheads candies. Cheez-Its and pop-top tins of barbecue flavored potted meat came on the side. Photos of this box of disaster relief food — labeled as “meal modules&rdquo...

Posted: 4 days ago

When families in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico asked for food, a Georgia company answered the call with candy bars. Baby Ruths, to be exact. Also fruity Airheads candies. Cheez-Its and pop-top tins of barbecue flavored potted meat came on the side. Photos of this box of disaster relief food — labeled as “meal modules&rdquo...
Lawsuit: Dispute over land led Reed officials to threaten developer
 Senior members of Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration allegedly threatened a prominent developer that he would never again do business with the city unless he relinquished a claim to property the city wanted for a new recreation center, according to court papers filed Monday. The filings allege the threat was made during a meeting between...

Posted: 11 days ago

Senior members of Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration allegedly threatened a prominent developer that he would never again do business with the city unless he relinquished a claim to property the city wanted for a new recreation center, according to court papers filed Monday. The filings allege the threat was made during a meeting between...
Atlanta mayor to Fannie Mae board chair: Deal is “unlawful, unethical”
 Atlanta Housing Authority headquarters Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is urging the board chairman of home finance giant Fannie Mae to resign over a controversial deal
            that could allow the developer to 
            buy up control over city housing authority land at a fraction of its value. Reed’s blistering 
            letter...

Posted: 25 days ago

Atlanta Housing Authority headquarters Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is urging the board chairman of home finance giant Fannie Mae to resign over a controversial deal that could allow the developer to buy up control over city housing authority land at a fraction of its value. Reed’s blistering letter...
Advocates: Data reveals signs that poor are being pushed out of Atlanta Beltline neighborhoods
 Atlanta Beltline Inc. has been under fire for failing to build mandated affordable housing. Credit: Jill Vejnoska jfejnoska@ajc.com A 
            report from grassroots advocates the Housing Justice League shows evidence that the poor are leaving Atlanta Beltline neighborhoods,
            even as existing residents say they want to stay...

3:03 PM Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017

Atlanta Beltline Inc. has been under fire for failing to build mandated affordable housing. Credit: Jill Vejnoska jfejnoska@ajc.com A report from grassroots advocates the Housing Justice League shows evidence that the poor are leaving Atlanta Beltline neighborhoods, even as existing residents say they want to stay...
How Atlanta’s housing agency may hand a developer a $120m discount
 The massive land deal was cut in 2011, but current Atlanta Housing Authority leadership said they only caught wind of it last year. Control over one third of the vacant land holdings owned by the city’s housing agency for the poor — some of it in prime, intown neighborhoods — had been optioned off to a local developer...

5:23 PM Friday, Oct. 13, 2017

The massive land deal was cut in 2011, but current Atlanta Housing Authority leadership said they only caught wind of it last year. Control over one third of the vacant land holdings owned by the city’s housing agency for the poor — some of it in prime, intown neighborhoods — had been optioned off to a local developer...
Why the feds say a Ga. foreclosure program helped too little, too late
 The program was supposed to save Georgia homeowners from foreclosure through the worst real estate downturn in decades. But HomeSafe Georgia was beset with complaints from the beginning that it helped too few, too slowly. Now a federal audit requested by U.S. Reps. John Lewis, D-Atlanta, and Hank Johnson, D-Lithonia, says the program ...

5:23 PM Friday, Oct. 13, 2017

The program was supposed to save Georgia homeowners from foreclosure through the worst real estate downturn in decades. But HomeSafe Georgia was beset with complaints from the beginning that it helped too few, too slowly. Now a federal audit requested by U.S. Reps. John Lewis, D-Atlanta, and Hank Johnson, D-Lithonia, says the program ...
Feds: Ga. foreclosure program soaked up admin fees and failed needy
 A state-run program to save struggling homeowners from foreclosure was so mismanaged that it has awarded only a portion of the $370 million that it was supposed to give to Georgia residents, according to an audit released Friday by a federal watchdog agency. The Department of Community Affairs (DCA) was warned by federal watchdogs 25...

4:44 PM Friday, Oct. 13, 2017

A state-run program to save struggling homeowners from foreclosure was so mismanaged that it has awarded only a portion of the $370 million that it was supposed to give to Georgia residents, according to an audit released Friday by a federal watchdog agency. The Department of Community Affairs (DCA) was warned by federal watchdogs 25...
Atlanta housing agency: $120M windfall for developer in disputed deal
 A controversial deal to require the city’s low-income housing authority to sell prime parcels of vacant land to a developer would hand them over at a $120 million discount, according to estimates obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. If the sale goes through, it could amount to a king-sized subsidy towards the construction of...

4:33 PM Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017

A controversial deal to require the city’s low-income housing authority to sell prime parcels of vacant land to a developer would hand them over at a $120 million discount, according to estimates obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. If the sale goes through, it could amount to a king-sized subsidy towards the construction of...
Atlanta Housing Authority sues to kill deal to subsidize homes for affluent residents
 The Atlanta Housing Authority filed suit Friday against one of its longtime development partners to kill a deal that could
            
            push the agency to subsidize homes for affluent residents. The deal to sell one quarter of the agency’s vacant land to Integral Group at below market value would be “unconscionable...

7:10 PM Friday, Sep. 01, 2017

The Atlanta Housing Authority filed suit Friday against one of its longtime development partners to kill a deal that could push the agency to subsidize homes for affluent residents. The deal to sell one quarter of the agency’s vacant land to Integral Group at below market value would be “unconscionable...
Atlanta Beltline Inc. CEO to leave with big boost in severance pay
 Atlanta Beltline Inc. has been under fire for failing to build mandated affordable housing. Credit: Jill Vejnoska jfejnoska@ajc.com Atlanta Beltline Inc. CEO Paul Morris is 
            leaving his post with a parting gift worth tens of thousands of dollars, agency records show. A new employment contract approved before Morris’ resignation...

4:08 PM Monday, Aug. 28, 2017

Atlanta Beltline Inc. has been under fire for failing to build mandated affordable housing. Credit: Jill Vejnoska jfejnoska@ajc.com Atlanta Beltline Inc. CEO Paul Morris is leaving his post with a parting gift worth tens of thousands of dollars, agency records show. A new employment contract approved before Morris’ resignation...