Senate blocks confirmation of official accused of harassment

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — State senators blocked the leader of the state's affordable housing agency from keeping his job amid allegations he sexually harassed an employee.

Louisiana Housing Corporation Executive Director Keith Cunningham was among four people who didn't receive Senate confirmation on Thursday before the legislative session ended. Senators don't talk publicly about their confirmation decisions.

Barry Brooks, with the housing corporation, said Friday that the agency's board will schedule a special meeting to select an interim executive director while searching for a permanent appointee to the job.

Cunningham was placed on administrative leave with pay in April, according to the governor's office, pending the outcome of the sexual harassment investigation.

He was accused of “unwelcomed and unabated sexual harassment” of an assistant at the housing corporation from January 2017 through this year, according to a letter from W. Brett Conrad Jr., a lawyer representing the worker who accused Cunningham of the harassment.

Cunningham hasn't responded publicly to the claims, and efforts by The Associated Press to reach him have been unsuccessful.

The Louisiana Housing Corporation was created in 2011 to oversee the spending of federal and state dollars earmarked to manage affordable and energy efficient housing assistance for low- and moderate-income residents.