NYCHA tenants say they were duped into RNC video appearance

Three residents claim they were never informed their interviews would be used at GOP convention

HUD's Lynne Patton and of Frederick Douglass Houses resident Claudia Perez (Getty; RNC)
HUD's Lynne Patton and of Frederick Douglass Houses resident Claudia Perez (Getty; RNC)

New York City public housing residents say Lynne Patton tricked them into appearing in a video that aired at the Republican National Convention last week.

Three of the four New York City Housing Authority tenants who appeared in the segment, which aired Thursday, said they were not given advance notice that the interviews they provided to Patton herself would be used for the convention, the New York Times reported. The video focused on conditions in the city’s notoriously neglected public housing.

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“I am not a Trump supporter,” Claudia Perez, a resident of Frederick Douglass Houses in Manhattan, told the New York Times. “I am not a supporter of his racist policies on immigration. I am a first-generation Honduran. It was my people he was sending back.”

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She said that while she stood by her criticisms of NYCHA, the way the video was edited made it seem like she was praising President Donald Trump’s record on public housing while bashing Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Patton, a longtime associate of Trump, denied that she misled the tenants, saying that they knew that their interviews would be shown at the convention “to increase awareness of the inhumane conditions that Mayor de Blasio has allowed for far too long.”

As head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s New York office, Patton is bound by the Hatch Act, which prohibits government officials from using their position to engage in political activities. (In 2019, she was found to have violated the rule.) She said the video had been vetted and cleared for the Hatch Act violations by the White House. [NYT] — Akiko Matsuda