Federal investigators are looking into claims that maintenance men at several Baltimore public housing projects demanded sexual favors from residents in exchange for repairs.
The city launched a criminal investigation into the allegations last week, and now the Department of Housing and Urban Development will launch its own probe, Baltimore Housing Commissioner Paul Graziano told reporters on Wednesday, according to The Baltimore Sun.
Last week, attorneys for 11 women living in Baltimore public housing amended a federal lawsuit to name Gilmor Homes, Westport and Govans Manor as the offending properties, NBC affiliate WBAL reported. The women, who are seeking $70 million in damages, said the men assaulted them and threatened their physical security.
One of the women who lives in Gilmor Homes claims that her maintenance supervisors wouldn't fix her heat in 2013 because she'd refused sex over the years, according to the Sun.
Graziano said he hadn't heard of the women's allegations until their attorneys filed a lawsuit on Sept. 28.
"As soon as we became aware, we [took] very strong actions," Graziano told the Sun. "We have sat down with eight of the named plaintiffs and their counsel. We have taken very severe personnel actions. I can't discuss the details."
Two spokespeople at the Department of Housing and Urban Development told The Huffington Post that they couldn't "confirm or deny" that they had an open investigation.