UPDATED, 5:28 p.m., July 27: A top executive in the de Blasio administration tried to cover up potentially compromising evidence over the Rivington House scandal, according to the city’s Department of Investigation.
The DOI claims that Corporation Counsel Zachary Carter withheld a crucial internal memo from a citywide probe into the real estate deal, and only released it Friday after the DOI threatened to sue.
The memo, sent from a lower-level official to the head of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services on July 23, 2014, indicates the city knew Rivington House could be turned into condos and that deputy mayor Anthony Shorris was briefed on the deal at the time, the New York Daily News reported.
The DOI launched its probe earlier this year, after news broke that real estate firm Allure Group paid the city a mere $16 million to have the nursing home’s deed restriction lifted, and then sold it to developers Slate Property Group, Adam America Real Estate and China Vanke for $116 million. The developers reportedly plan to turn the building into luxury condos, though a stop-work order from the Department of Buildings remains in effect.
The city’s corporation counsel Zachary Taylor, denied the allegations, arguing that the Law Department actually sent the internal notice to DOI in April.
Last week, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito criticized the de Blasio administration for limiting the DOI’s access to computers and documents.
“I am pleased that the Law Department decided to comply with the law,” DOI commissioner Mark Peters said in a statement. “And, I am proud of the DOI staff who doggedly pursued access to these records so DOI can fully investigate the matter at hand.” [NYDN] – Konrad Putzier