News roundup: Feds say that the NYCHA covered up public housing dangers for years

Here are some excerpts from today’s news coverage about how the city reportedly covered up dangerous public health conditions at NYCHA properties for the past eight years.

Via The New York Times:

The federal government on Monday delivered a withering rebuke of New York City’s housing authority, accusing officials of systematic misconduct, indifference and outright lies in the management of the nation’s oldest and largest stock of public housing.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan said the authority, which houses at least 400,000 poor and working-class residents, covered up its actions, training its staff on how to mislead federal inspectors and presenting false reports to the government and to the public about its compliance with lead-paint regulations. The failures endangered tenants and workers for years, the prosecutors said, and potentially left more children than previously known poisoned by lead paint in their apartments.

Via Politico:

The report concludes a two-year investigation into one of Mayor Bill de Blasio‘s biggest managerial failings.

De Blasio signed a consent decree with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan that commits the city to $1 billion over four years and $200 million in subsequent years to fix dire conditions throughout the housing authority’s 325 complexes.

In doing so, he took more ownership of an agency whose head he appoints but which is legally a responsibility of the federal government. Any changes will be made under the watch of a federally appointed monitor.

Via NBC 4:

As a result of the settlement, NYCHA will now have to create three new departments: one for compliance, one for environmental health and safety, and one for quality assurance.

Via the Post‘s coverage of the news conference with Mayor de Blasio:

When a New York Times reporter suggested the mayor had been forced to sign the decree by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office, rather than agreeing to it willingly, Hizzoner blew up.

“It was not forced, it was a decision, my friend. Seriously my friend, you represent a rather prestigious journalistic entity. Do not put words in someone’s mouth. That’s really not cool,” the mayor said. “I was not forced for a minute. I had the choice if I wanted to do something different to do something different. So really try and respect the truth.”

Earlier in the day, de Blasio issued a statement blaming NYCHA’s problems on “decades” of underfunding by the federal and state government, and “neglect” by prior city administrations.

You may read the consent decree here … and the complaint here.

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