RICHMOND, Va. — The embattled head of the Virginia capital’s public housing authority has resigned.

Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority Chairman Robert Adams said in a statement that T.K. Somanath’s resignation Sunday as executive director is effective immediately.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that Somanath is stepping down amid pointed criticism following heating system failures that left around 50 families reliant on space heaters during a deep cold snap. Somanath told the newspaper on Friday that space heaters were sufficient as an interim measure and he didn’t think it made sense to focus on deferred maintenance, likening it to pouring money “into a sinkhole.”

His comments drew ire from advocates and some City Council members.

He told the newspaper Friday he didn’t intend to resign, but did not return comment Sunday.

Information from: Richmond Times-Dispatch,

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