De Blasio learned about Bharara’s inquiry into NYCHA through news reports

City’s law department called request for documents about lead levels “routine”

Mar.March 31, 2016 03:50 PM

Mayor Bill de Blasio said he learned about the federal request for documents regarding potentially dangerous environmental conditions at the city’s public housing through the media — the city’s law department chalked up it as routine and didn’t inform the mayor.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara filed documents seeking information about elevated lead levels in housing shelters and New York City Public Housing, and how the agency handled environmental complaints.

Thus far, his office has received 440 million records, NYCHA CEO Shola Olatoye told the City Council, Politico reported.

Earlier this month, a federal judge ordered the city to release the information after the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene rejected an earlier request, citing not wanting to violate patients’ privacy rights.

It was the department’s privacy concern that made the request public. Prosecutors had requested the documents in November, the New York Times reported.

“The civil investigative demand served by the U.S. Attorney was handled as a routine preliminary inquiry which was not elevated to the attention of the Mayor,” Nick Paolucci, a law department spokesman, said in an email, Politico reported.

On Monday, Olatoye told the City Council the agency tested the water at 175 vacant units and found elevated levels of lead at 13. The agency, which has $60 million deficit, said fulfilling the request is getting “very expensive,” Olatoye said. [Politico]Dusica Sue Malesevic 

Related Articles

Mayor Bill de Blasio delivered the message this week ahead of a formal plan to combat social gathering in the city. (Credit: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images and Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

New York City to enforce social distancing at parks, playgrounds

Mayor Bill de Blasio (Photo by William Farrington-Pool/Getty Images)

Mayor questions allowing condo construction during pandemic

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images, iStock)

Governor gives NYC 24 hours to make crowd-reduction plan

Mayor Bill de Blasio (Photo by William Farrington-Pool/Getty Images)

De Blasio says he will pursue rent moratorium

Mayor Bill de Blasio (Credit: EuropaNewswire/Gado/Getty Images)

De Blasio considering shelter-in-place order

Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at a press conference about COVID-19 (Credit: Michael Brochstein / Echoes Wre/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

NYC restaurants, bars, schools closed to prevent virus spread

During de Blasio’s state of the city address last month, the mayor proposed a vacancy tax once again, in a bid to tackle the city’s 12,000 empty storefronts. (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)

San Francisco passed a tax on vacant storefronts. What does that mean for NYC?

New York City Deputy Mayor of Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been and New York state Sen. Brad Hoylman (Credit: Been via NYU; Hoylman by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

Chorus for moratorium on evictions grows louder in New York