John Rhea steps down as housing authority chairman

Embattled politician reportedly hoped to preempt firing by de Blasio
December 31, 2013 10:09AM

John Rhea, the chairman of the city’s public housing authority, resigned last night after a stormy four-year tenure during which he drew heavy criticism for the deteriorating state of public housing in New York City.

Rhea tendered his resignation to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and designated Kyle Kimball, the outgoing director of the city’s Economic Development Corporation, to take over as temporary chairman of the authority, sources told the New York Daily News.

Bloomberg and NYCHA officials declined to comment to the paper.

In October, mayor-elect Bill de Blasio had vowed that one of his first acts at the helm of City Hall would be to sack Rhea, who he said didn’t have the requisite experience for the job. Rhea’s move was intended to preempt his dismissal, the News said.

The authority has come under fire for the poor conditions — from leaky faucets to rat infestations — at buildings it owns and maintains, as well as for mismanagement of its vast portfolio.

NYCHA’s proposal last February to lease public housing land at eight Manhattan projects and develop market rate apartment buildings there also aroused the ire of housing advocates and de Blasio alike. [NYDN] — Hiten Samtani