Cisneros Bows Out

November 22, 1996

Cisneros Bows Out

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros announced his resignation yesterday, becoming the seventh of 14 Cabinet secretaries to quit the Clinton Cabinet since the election. In a letter to President Clinton, a close friend of the former San Antonio mayor, Cisneros wrote, "Though I would like to help build on the progress we have made ... I have concluded that I cannot ask to be considered for service in the next four years."

Cisneros cited personal financial problems as the main reason he will leave the public service. He has two daughters in college and mounting legal bills from an independent counsel investigation into charges he lied about the amount of money he gave to his former mistress, Linda Medlar. Cisneros' $148,400 Cabinet salary was considerably less than what he made as a former San Antonio mayor in speaking fees and from his Texas investment firm. Cisneros owed between $375,000 and $950,000 in legal fees and loans at the end of 1995, according to his most recent financial disclosure.

Friends and admirers said Cisneros would be missed by administration colleagues. During his tenure, home ownership reached a 15-year high. HUD tore down a series of high-rise housing towers, replacing them with smaller, more manageable projects. Cisneros met with Seattle Mayor Norm Rice, a leading candidate for HUD's top spot, yesterday. Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell, Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer, and Assistant HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo are also contenders.

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