A federal judge rejected Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan that would’ve spent $1.2 billion to improve the New York City Housing Authority.
Judge William Pauley asked for a new plan for the poorly managed agency by Dec. 14, Politico reported. The judge said the original agreement, which would have allowed de Blasio to avoid a trial for NYCHA, wasn’t clear on enforcement and would create more confusion.
“Somewhat reminiscent of the biblical plagues of Egypt, these conditions include toxic lead paint, asthma-inducing mold, lack of heat, frequent elevator outages, and vermin infestations,” Pauley wrote in his 52-page ruling.
He also said the deal would give too much power to the courts and “sideline” the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. Pauley said the decision will “likely delay sorely needed relief for NYCHA tenants” — and that the the existing agreement had “fatal procedural flaws.”
In June, de Blasio signed a consent decree with federal prosecutors to settle investigations into lead paint and other issues at NYCHA. Under the agreement, the city committed to spending another $1.2 billion over the next 10 years, and a federal monitor was put in place to oversee the sprawling housing authority.
“For the sake of NYCHA’s residents, this mayor’s reforms — including those outlined in the consent decree — will not stop and will not slow down,” Eric Phillips, de Blasio’s spokesperson, said in a statement. “We will at the same time be responsive to the court and we look forward to continuing to partner with the United States Attorney to improve conditions in public housing.”
A report earlier this year said NYCHA needs $31.8 billion over the next five years to keep up with a long list of repairs. But there’s a $25 billion hole in the five-year plan that’s unaccounted for by any form of public subsidy. [Politico] — Meenal Vamburkar