Former HUD chief of staff Frank Jimenez is leaving the Department of Housing and Urban Development, but he says he never intended to serve as chief of staff under the newly appointed Acting Secretary Alphonso Jackson.In the wake of the departure of former HUD Secretary Mel Martinez, Mr. Jimenez says in a memorandum to several trade group executives that he is helping with the transition in the secretary's office. "Camille Pierce has been with the acting secretary for a long time and will do a great job as the chief of staff," he says. The memo appears to be written in response to a MortgageWire story that Martinez's chief of staff has left HUD and that his departure may be related to HUD's decision to issue a final RESPA rule. The decision has upset several members of Congress who understood that HUD would not issue a final rule on the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act while Congress was in recess. "To our knowledge, no HUD official ever promised that the rule would not be transmitted to the Office of Management and Budget during the recess, and if anyone at HUD ever suggested as much, they did so without authorization," Mr. Jimenez says in a memo obtained by MW. The OMB reviews and clears regulations before they can be finalized and published in the Federal Register.

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