The federal government has tapped Bart Schwartz, chairman of powerful and influential investigations firm Guidepost Solutions, to monitor the beleaguered New York City Housing Authority, a new report claims.
Schwartz, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney in New York’s Southern District, has ties to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Rudolph Giulliani as well as controversial activist and fiery Bill de Blasio critic Lenora Fulani, New York Magazine’s The City reported.
Under federal oversight, NYCHA will have to meet deadlines for its clean-up of identified hazards at its 334 developments across the city.
Schwartz was chosen by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson as part of a settlement to increase oversight of the nation’s largest public housing authority. The appointment is slated to be ratified by an internal HUD committee next week, with an announcement to follow, the report said.
As the new monitor for the housing agency, Schwartz will tackle the most important element of the deal announced last month between Berman, Carson, and de Blasio aimed at addressing NYCHA’s failure to provide decent housing for many of its 400,000 tenants.
Schwartz, who is in his early 70s, worked in the 1980s under then-Manhattan U.S. Attorney Giuliani. In recent years, he’s served as a federal monitor in high-profile cases involving General Motors and Deutsche Bank, the report said.
In 2016, Cuomo selected Schwartz to examine all state grants awarded in the Buffalo Billions economic stimulus program. The move followed the criminal charges filed against several recipients of the program.
Schwartz has also worked in fundraising and oversight roles with the All Stars Project, a nonprofit founded by Fulani. Fulani has protested Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to fix NYCHA by turning over management of thousands of public housing apartments to private companies.
NYCHA has settled federal litigation over mismanagement of tens of thousands of subsidized apartments. The agreement allows HUD to install a monitor overseeing NYCHA’s management and requires the city to make an additional investment of $2 billion over the next five years. NYCHA has said its needed capital repairs total about $32 billion.
Citing inadequate funding, the agency has recently moved to sell some of its land and air rights to real estate developers. It is also looking to have private landlords manage 62,000 units, which would be converted to Section 8 housing. [NYMag] — Meenal Vamburkar