Lawsuit accuses NYCHA of “nefarious scheme” to cut down on lead paint inspections

Officials have acknowledged failure to inspect thousands of units

NYCHA's Shola Olatoye (Credit: Sasha Maslov)
NYCHA's Shola Olatoye (Credit: Sasha Maslov)

A new federal class-action lawsuit accuses New York City Housing Authority officials of scheming to exclude apartments from annual lead paint inspections.

The complaint alleges that NYCHA obtained waivers for thousands of apartments, allowing the agency to save money by cutting the number of inspections down to fewer than 55,000, the New York Post reported.

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“There are thousands of public housing residents that want proper inspections done of their homes,” Corey Stern, the lawyer representing tenants, told the Post. “The amended complaint evidences a plan and a coverup at the highest level of city government, and it goes all the way to the mayor’s office.”

Last month, NYCHA Chair Shola Olatoye testified before the City Council that filing misleading paperwork about the lead paint inspections was a mistake. She said that she informed the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development of NYCHA’s failure to inspect the 55,000 apartments in 2016 but subsequently filed false reports. Mayor Bill de Blasio knew about the problem as early as early 2016. [NYP] — Kathryn Brenzel