The Real Deal New York

Judge criticizes NYCHA’s handling of mold repairs

Special monitor to be appointed to oversee city's compliance with class action settlement

December 16, 2015 06:00PM


From left: Shola Olatoye (credit: Max Dworkin) and NYCHA contractors conducting mold repairs

A federal judge is set to appoint a monitor to ensure the New York City more aggressively addresses the problem of mold at public housing properties, after becoming frustrated at the slow pace of the city’s efforts.

U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley III issued a decision Tuesday criticizing the New York City Housing Authority for falling out of compliance with an class action lawsuit settlement reached under the Bloomberg administration.

Pauley described NYCHA’s compliance with the agreement as “inadequate” and criticized the attitude of the agency’s officials as “one of indifference,” according to the New York Times.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group, and the National Center for Law and Economic Justice filed the class action against the city in 2013, on behalf of public housing residents suffering from asthma as a result of mold growth at city housing projects.

The Bloomberg administration quickly settled the lawsuit, reaching an agreement whereby NYCHA committed to completing repairs at properties within seven to 15 days following a work order. The agency was also required to address underlying causes of the mold problem by tracking and correcting sources of moisture.

But Judge Pauley found that housing officials instead tried to reinterpret the settlement and extended the time taken to address conditions “to weeks or even months.” [NYT]Rey Mashayekhi