• President-elect Trump announced two potential picks for the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development -- civil rights activist Robert Woodson, Sr., and real estate developer Joseph Forgione.

Editor’s note: On Monday, Nov. 28, sources “close to the appointment” confirmed to HousingWire that Ben Carson will officially accept the role of United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. On Tuesday, Nov. 22, Donald Trump floated Ben Carson’s name as a potential nominee for HUD secretary on Twitter and later a report from Reuters confirmed that Trump had offered Carson the position. A spokesman said that Carson would “consider it over the Thanksgiving holiday.”

As President-elect Donald Trump begins to fill out positions in his administration, speculation surrounding certain key seats is swirling.

Two potential names have emerged as picks for Trump’s secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD): Robert Woodson, Sr., an advisor to House Speaker Paul Ryan, and real estate developer Joseph Forgione, a Democrat who raised money for Trump.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development “oversees homeownership, low-income housing assistance, fair housing laws, homelessness, aid for distressed neighborhoods, and housing development,” according to its website.

If the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which created the CFPB, is repealed — as President-elect Donald Trump has vowed — there is a possibility that HUD may once again, be in charge of administering and enforcing the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), which regulates how real estate companies may do business with other related companies (such as mortgage lenders).

Robert Woodson, Sr. (Photo credit:

Robert Woodson, Sr. (Photo credit: CNE)

The first potential pick, Robert Woodson, Sr., is the founder and president of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise in Washington, D.C.

According to CNE’s website, the organization is dedicated to “strengthening and advocating for those neighborhood-based organizations struggling to serve their communities.”

Woodson, who was a civil rights activist in the 1960s and the director of the National Urban League’s Administration of Justice in the 1970s, has dedicated his life to improving the management and quality of public housing, crafting welfare reform measures, and reducing neighborhood and school violence.

Most recently, Woodson has served as an advisor to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

In an interview with The Washington Post, Woodson said he could work with Trump.

“They seem to be very serious about it,” he said.

The Post story notes that Woodson would be responsible for “leading education and social reforms” in predominantly black areas.

“I’m not job hunting, but we’re talking about how I could possibly work with him. We’re talking about how we could work with those across the aisle to do these things together.”

Joseph Forgione

Joseph Forgione

The second potential pick, Joseph Forgione, is a licensed real estate broker and the founder and principal of JMF Properties Group in Whippany, New Jersey.

According to his biography on JMF’s website, Forgione has 20 years of real estate development experience and has been “responsible for the construction of over 2,000 residential units as well as multiple commercial and retail spaces.”

In addition to his work with JMF, Forgione is a member of the New Jersey Civil Engineers and the New Jersey Builders Associations. He’s also served as a commissioner for the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.

Forgione, who is a friend of Ivanka Trump’s father-in-law, Charles Kushner, has yet to release a statement about the possible appointment.

Email Marian McPherson

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