The Real Deal New York

After Sandy, NYCHA told staffers to keep politicians in the dark

November 14, 2012 10:00AM

John Rhea, chairman of NYCHA

In the days after Hurricane Sandy, the New York City Housing Authority instructed employees to keep quiet if elected officials wanted information about specific developments, the New York Daily News reported.

“If approached by an elected official: please do not provide information,” NYCHA’s general manager Cecil House wrote in an email sent to the agency’s 11,500 employees on Nov. 2, three days after the storm. NYCHA employees were told to forward the official’s name to the agency’s “intergovernmental team.” They were also prohibited from speaking to the press.

“It leaves you totally speechless,” Public Advocate Bill de Blasio told the Daily News. “We’re in the middle of a humanitarian crisis and the Housing Authority is worried about its reputation.”

Hurricane Sandy wiped out heat, hot water and power for almost 80,000 residents of 400 public housing buildings, and observers criticized NYCHA’s slow response time in the aftermath of the storm. Power had been restored to all NYCHA buildings as of last night, but 18,000 tenants remain without heat and hot water, the mayor’s office reportedly said.

House did not return calls from the Daily News. [NYDN]Leigh Kamping-Carder

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