After Rivington House scandal, ex-city official just wants one thing

Ricardo Morales said he was fired for political reasons
August 01, 2017 11:40AM

From left: Bill de Blasio, Rivington House and Ricardo Morales

Ricardo Morales — a former deputy commissioner who said he was fired from his City Hall post for political reasons — claims he simply wants to go back to work.

For those keeping track, back in 2015 Morales signed off on lifting the deed restriction at Rivington House, which led to the sale of the property to Slate Property Group, Adam America and China Vanke for $116 million. They planned a luxury condominium on the site. Morales was fired unceremoniously in February amid a federal probe into the transaction.

“I don’t believe in vengeance… I am not looking for a payday either. I am looking for justice,” said Morales, a former deputy commissioner for the Department of Citywide Services. “I followed the rules and for that I got political punishment.”

Last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the decision to fire Morales was made because of poor job performance. He also said Morales’ $5 million claim against the city was a money grab.

“That’s nonsense; that’s falsehood,” Morales said, according to the New York Post.

Morales said City Hall pressured him and then-DCAS commissioner Stacey Cumberbatch to give businessman Harendra Singh a break on $750,000 in back rent on his Water’s Edge restaurant in Queens in 2015. Singh, a de Blasio campaign donor, cooperated with a now-closed federal investigation into the mayor’s fundraising efforts.

Morales claims he was fired after he raised objections to “City Hall’s lack of truthfulness” in the Rivington House deal. [NYP]E.B. Solomont