The Real Deal New York

De Blasio promises to sack NYCHA’s Rhea if elected

October 10, 2013 01:12PM

From left: Mayor Bloomberg, Bill de Blasio and John Rhea

From left: Mayor Bloomberg, Bill de Blasio and John Rhea

If elected, Bill de Blasio vowed to clean house at NYCHA – beginning with the sacking of Chairman John Rhea — and charged that Mayor Michael Bloomberg has ignored the conditions endured by NYCHA’s 600,000 tenants during his 12 years in office.

“At minimum, as a way forward, there should be a mayoral-control mindset vis-à-vis public housing,” mayoral front-runner de Blasio told the New York Daily News editorial board. “We’re going to have to rework the operational approach at NYCHA.”

At the top of his list of Bloomberg missteps was the appointment of Rhea, a former Lehman Brothers investment banker who had zero public sector experience before ascending to the helm of public housing in 2009.

“John Rhea was not the right person. He did not have background in running an agency like that,” de Blasio told the Daily News, promising to replace him with “someone who has been deeply involved in housing issues in the public sector.”

De Blasio, himself a former top official at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, has criticized NYCHA’s mismanagement throughout his mayoral run, slamming the authority’s plan to lease public land at eight Manhattan projects for private apartment buildings, the majority of which would rent at market rates.

Rhea has claimed the plan would raise $50 million a year to fund building repairs, but tenants at seven of the eight developments have rejected the proposal.

A development plan of some sort, however, may be “believable and acceptable, but it has to be carefully constructed,” de Blasio added, saying he wouldn’t rule out the possibility.

But, he said, he would not do it the “way it was done by Bloomberg.” [NYDN]Julie Strickland

  • SlickExpat

    Of course, deblasshole doesn’t have a comprehensive plan to improve public housing.

  • MarionG

    No matter who runs NYCHA there simply isn’t enough $ for maintenance of buildings which serve over 400,000 tenants and are mostly 50 to 80 years old (first houses in East Village go back to 1936!) Needed cash can only come from government subsidy or higher rents. NYCHA can’t print money.

  • HenryLoL

    LOL!! DeBlasio is such a dope — it’s like he is running for class president in 5th grade: “FREE CANDY FOR EVERYONE!” What a joke.

  • trotsky

    John Rhea is the Cathy Black of NYCHA…another unqualified fool that Bloomberg met at a party…good riddance to bad rubbish

  • king bloomberg

    bloombergs policy for the NYCHA was to close out repair slips rather than actually repair anything,and hire consultants to create new and clever ways of avoiding actually doing the work…maybe Deblasio can reverse the “starve the beast” attitude of the bloomberg administration

  • rubagreta

    Tenants at seven of the eight developments rejected the plans for additional housing? Excuse me, but what right do these tenants have to reject anything, given that most of their rent is paid by the taxpayer? They don’t want to lose their views? Sorry, you don’t have the right to a view. Ask the taxpaying coop owners of Lincoln Towers, who lost their views when Trump built his condos along the West Side Highway. Good luck New York City, with your Sandinista mayor for the next four years.

  • NYC_developer

    This is a link to an interesting discussion of de Blasio and the future of urban planning in New York:

    How Would a de Blasio Victory Change Urban Planning in New York?

    http://www.windtunnel-nyc.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=58&Itemid=48

    Decent article about overseas Chinese investment in Manhattan and some cool architectural renderings as well.

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