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Nov 22, 2017
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BRONX NEWS: Four injured in science experiment gone wrong at Bronx school


Four people were critically injured when a school science experiment went awry early Wednesday in the Bronx, officials said.


The mishap took place at about 8:35 a.m. in the St. Catharine Academy on Williamsbridge Road near Astor Ave. in Allerton.


All four injured were identified as students by WABC-7. Two were critically injured and two were in stable condition.


FDNY officials said there was no fire.


The school was founded in 1889 and is sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. It has an enrollment of about 470.

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Nov 21, 2017
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BRONX NEWS: Lawyers for Ramarley Graham’s family, city to face off in court


Lawyers for the city and the family of a unarmed teen shot and killed by police in 2012 will face off in court Wednesday over investigation records the NYPD is keeping secret.


Oral arguments in the Freedom of Information Law case the family of 18-year-old Ramarley Graham filed are slated for Supreme Court on Thomas St., in Tribeca, before Judge Manuel Mendez.


Some of the documents were introduced as evidence in the departmental trial of Officer Richard Haste, who fired the fatal bullet in the encounter in Graham’s Bronx home in February 2012. Haste quit the force before a verdict was issued.


Even though those records were introduced in open court before the public, the NYPD still refused to release any of them.

Lawyers for Ramarley Graham’s family, city to face off in court


“The Police Department really threw the kitchen sink at the family’s FOIL request,” their lawyer, Gideon Oliver, said. “They are refusing to disclose anything.”


In rejecting the request, the department cited section 50-a of the state civil rights law, which the city has interpreted as barring the release of all personnel records for safety reasons. That position, which began in 2016, flies in the face of previous department practice, as well as the intent of the freedom of information statute.


The department has also said there are “ongoing judicial proceedings” against Officer John McLoughlin and Sgt. Scott Morris, who have been charged, but have yet to be tried more than five years after the fact.


“The police department properly withheld records that if disclosed, would interfere with the pending disciplinary proceedings of two officers involved in this tragic incident,” Law Department spokesman Nick Paolucci said. “The requested records are also exempt from disclosure under FOIL.”

City Council caucus wants NYPD records on Ramarley Graham


McLoughlin was the officer who kicked in the door to Graham’s apartment. Morris was the supervising officer on scene.


“Whether to release the records the Graham family and community activists are seeking, and when to schedule NYPD disciplinary hearings for Morris and McLoughlin — if ever — are political calls by (Police Commissioner James) O’Neill and (Mayor) de Blasio,” Oliver said.


“The Police Department has improperly withheld the majority of the records we are seeking. I hope the judge will direct the department to release, if not all of them, then the majority of the documents.”


The NYPD did not respond to a request for comment.

KING: No, I won’t be writing about black-on-black crime


In fiscal 2017, McLoughlin made ,168.50 in overtime on top of his salary of ,292.


Graham’s mother, Constance Malcolm, said the de Blasio administration has been a “disaster on police accountability and transparency.”


“It’s been over five years since Ramarley was murdered in my home and the de Blasio administration still hasn’t brought all the officers responsible to a departmental trial, held them accountable by terminating their employment, or even released basic information on the misconduct that led to my son’s killing,” she said in a statement.


“It’s sickening that Officer John McLoughlin, who kicked down the door of our home to kill my son, is still receiving overtime pay even though the mayor and police commissioner made empty promises to end these kind of overtime practices.”

Council group wants cops to face NYPD trial in Bronx teen’s death


Malcolm called on O’Neill and de Blasio to fire McLoughlin and Morris.


A police official said McLoughlin is on full duty while he waits for the outcome of the disciplinary case.

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Nov 21, 2017
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BRONX NEWS: Wall Street coke dealers tied to giant fentanyl trafficking ring


Two Bronx brothers who made cocaine deliveries to Wall Street-area advertising and real estate professionals were also wrapped up in a multi-million dollar fentanyl trafficking operation, authorities said Monday.


The feds and Bronx prosecutors on Monday announced the arrest of 16 people in a sweeping drug trafficking conspiracy — capping off a six-month probe that included an on-call cocaine delivery service.


“They drove the narcotics up the eastern seaboard from Florida, bringing the attendant misery to the Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester County and New Jersey,” said Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark.


The drugs came from Mexico by way of Arizona and Florida, law enforcement sources said.

Bronx dealers busted selling heroin, fentanyl mix Pray for Death


Some of the drugs were branded with cartoon images of Papa Smurf.


Members of a Drug Enforcement Administration task “Strike Force” that includes the NYPD and other agencies busted 11 of the suspects in a Nov. 15 takedown, while five others were arrested earlier, authorities said. Three are awaiting extradition from Florida and New Jersey.


Brothers Juan and Jonathan Martinez, 34 and 31, ran the cocaine-on-demand service, authorities said.


Several members of the crew lived along Creston Ave. in University Heights, and peddled drugs in their own neighborhoods, authorities said.


One suspect, Jonas Antonio Turbi-Molina, 39, jumped out of his second-story hotel room window in Manhattan with ,000 cash after the feds busted him mid-deal. Authorities seized 10 kilograms of fentanyl, two of heroin and three of cocaine in that bust alone, prosecutors said.

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Nov 20, 2017
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BRONX NEWS: Bronx residents complain how NYCHA doesn’t inspect for lead paint


Sixto Martinez, who lives at the Melrose Houses with his wife and two kids, routinely sees paint chips in his bathroom in the South Bronx. And he sees flaking paint in his 13-year-old son’s bedroom.


What he hasn’t seen lately are NYCHA workers who are supposed to conduct annual inspections for lead paint, leaving his children exposed to a potential health hazard lurking in the walls.


“They don’t do annual inspections,” said Martinez, 51, who’s lived in a two-bedroom apartment at Melrose for the last decade.


On Friday, he pointed to a fine layer of paint dust and chips collecting along the walls and floor of his bathroom and the flaking, peeling paint in his son’s room. The son has lived there since he was 3, the daughter her entire life. She’s 9.


Martinez says he’s asked for a transfer for two years and repeatedly requested that NYCHA address the flaking paint. He’s still waiting.


A city Department of Investigation report released last week found that NYCHA was falsely certifying that it was completing all the required inspections when top management — including Chairwoman Shola Olatoye — knew they were not. The apartments at Melrose, which opened in 1952 before lead paint was banned in the 1970s, are among the 55,000 with lead paint that NYCHA was supposed to inspect annually.


The Daily News visited the Melrose apartments on Friday, where Martinez and other tenants described the dangerous conditions.


Shetia Simmons, 30, lives with her 2-year-old daughter, Trinity, and sons Taraji, 7, and Shatarbe, 9, in a second-floor apartment where the paint is peeling, flaking and chipped throughout the bathroom and near the radiator in the living room.


Trinity’s recent blood test turned up negative but Simmons worries that that could change given the condition of her apartment. She says her apartment was inspected in January and NYCHA promised to return and address the paint issue. But that was 11 months ago and the conditions remain the same.


“That stuff keeps falling and my daughter keeps playing with it,” Simmons said. “It’s been like a game with them. I understand you’re backed up but we really shouldn’t have to live like this. It’s really about the children. They pick this up and it’s not right.”


Tenant association president Jennie Cruz, 69, who’s lived in Melrose her entire life, says her granddaughter registered an alarming level of lead in her blood when she was just 3. Her family moved out of Melrose soon after.


On Friday she scrolled through a list of tenants who’ve complained about flaking paint and NYCHA’s inability to fix the problem.


“It’s very common here,” she said, bringing a reporter to yet another apartment where particles of white paint could be seen trapped in a spider web near the bathroom sink. In the kitchen paint flaked and peeled off the walls and ceiling in large and small pieces.


“I’m going to get my kids tested on Monday,” said Dana Newman, 25, who lives there with her 3-year-old daughter Savanah and 6-year-old son, Dashar.

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Nov 20, 2017
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BRONX NEWS: NYC families hunger for $770M in lost food stamps since 2013


New York families are still feeling the pangs four years after the feds slashed food stamp benefits, a new report found.


The cuts have cost city residents 0 million in lost benefits since 2013 — and whacked the city for .3 billion in economic activity when the full impact of their spending is considered, according to the report by the Food Bank for New York City.


“What it looks like in human terms is lost meals. What it looks like is people not able to buy what they need from the grocery store, and in many cases having to go to a food pantry or a soup kitchen instead,” said Food Bank vice president and report author Triada Stampas.


The trouble could get worse with a new farm bill, which includes the budget for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), expected to be introduced in Congress early in 2018.

Study shows nearly 500,000 N.Y. workers can’t afford proper food


President Trump’s proposed budget would cut food stamps by nearly 0 billion over the next decade.


The report found poor families in the city are still reeling from the last round of cuts, which took an average of a month from New Yorkers on food stamps — a number that has now risen to .


“New Yorkers who have been relying on this assistance to get food on their table have even less for what they need,” Stampas said.


“We know that there is a target on SNAP,” she said. “This is a cautionary tale.”

GOP budget would cut social safety net, boost military funding


The 0 million in lost benefits adds up to 223 million fewer meals on New Yorkers’ tables.


Some 77% of food pantries and soup kitchens were still seeing a spike in visitors in September 2017, as compared with September 2013, the Food Bank found.


More than half of pantries and kitchens, 56%, said at some point during the month, they ran out of food for adequate meals or pantry bags — up from 49% last year.


And 35% said they had to turn people away because they didn’t have enough food, while 46% of pantries said they reduced the amount of food in the bags they give away because of shortages.

Rural families rely more on food stamps than those in metro areas


One in five New Yorkers — or 1.7 million people — relies on food stamps to help buy food, with an average benefit of 0 a month for each household.


The benefits buy nearly billion in food purchases in the city each year, and federal studies have found each dollar in food stamp benefits leads to .79 in economic activity.


The proportion of people using food stamps spikes as high as 47% in the Melrose and Morrisania sections of the Bronx — and in six of the 12 community districts in the Bronx, at least 40% of the population gets the benefits.


Food stamp use is highest overall in the Bronx, where 33% of people get them, and lowest in Queens and Staten Island, where it’s 13%.

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Nov 19, 2017
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BRONX NEWS: SEE IT: Cops framed pair in 2-for-1 DWI bust, Bronx couple claims


It was a dubious DWI doubleheader — without the vehicle even moving — and now the Bronx cops who handcuffed a home health care aide and her boyfriend are the ones under investigation.


Rosa Del Valle and Frank Menard were busted for drunken driving just minutes apart in the same SUV, with the couple charging they were set up by two officers more intent on overtime than objectivity.


“They don’t understand the damage they caused,” Menard, 42, told the Daily News about the Feb. 28 arrests. “(They’re) not fit for real crime fighting and real justice.”


The shocking two-for-one DWI busts sparked separate probes by the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau and the Bronx district attorney’s Public Integrity Bureau, The News has learned.


The officers approached the couple around 2:30 a.m. as they sat inside a double-parked car, and first arrested Menard — whose insistence that he was not drinking at all that night was ignored.


The cops then turned their attention to Del Valle, 53, who was sitting in the passenger seat of the 2003 Ford Expedition outside her apartment on E. 190th St.


Del Valle said she was ordered to move the parked vehicle, with security footage obtained by The News showing one of the officer’s speaking with her as she sat inside.


“You’re probably going to have to move the car, to park it,” Del Valle quoted the officer as telling her.


Menard, standing several feet away, says he overhead a conversation where one officer told the other, “She’s gotta move the car.”


The video shows an officer opening the passenger door for Del Valle, who had walked around to the driver’s side.


Though she climbed behind the wheel, the video also shows the car never moved and the tail lights stayed dark. The keys were never even put into the ignition, she told The News.


Yet Del Valle was ordered to step out and take a Breathalyzer, according to the couple’s account and the video footage. When she failed the test, the officers arrested Del Valle as she burst into tears.


“And he put the handcuffs on me and brought me to the car with my boyfriend Frank,” said Del Valle, speaking through a Spanish interpreter in an interview Wednesday.


Del Valle acknowledged that she was drinking earlier in the evening and had a cup of coffee with food at a diner afterward.


“Oh, you’re drinking coffee, huh? This is some strong coffee,” the arresting officer allegedly said. “Too bad. Now you’re under arrest as well. Turn around.”


The weeping Del Valle joined Menard in handcuffs in the back seat of a patrol car. Cops said she had a blood alcohol content of nearly 0.11, above the legal limit of 0.08.


Menard, a construction project manager, said he demanded answers about his girlfriend’s arrest from Officers Brendan Bergin and Steven Marksberry of the 52nd Precinct.


“Mind your business,” he quoted one cop as replying. “It has nothing to do with you. . . . We’re not letting no one go. No one’s getting a break here.”


Menard said he even heard the pair refer casually to the “two-for-one” they caught, a remark he interpreted as NYPD shorthand for two collars in one stop.


The night began with no warning of what awaited. Menard worked until about 10 p.m., and then met Del Valle for a late dinner.


When Menard couldn’t find a parking space outside her building, the two sat in his car cuddling and kissing like teenagers with the radio playing before dozing off.


They were awakened by flashlight beams and window raps, with the two cops asking Menard to step outside the vehicle. He refused to take a Breathalyzer test and was arrested.


Once at the precinct, the couple claimed the arresting officers horsed around with their property while vouchering it. One male officer “flamboyantly” posed with Del Valle’s purse, they claimed.


Menard, whose brother is a retired NYPD undercover narcotics detective, said it felt “like they were just wasting time and they were mocking us.”


The pair, sprung from Bronx Criminal Court nearly 18 hours later, are still dealing with fallout from the arrests.


Del Valle, a Peruvian immigrant who worked seven days a week caring for her boyfriend’s Alzheimer’s-stricken mother, was suspended by her agency due to the pending charges.


She was out of work until late September — even though her case was dismissed Aug. 2. Her Legal Aid lawyer attached the video to his written appeal for dismissal.


The humiliated Del Valle even hid the arrest and its consequences from her 20-year-old daughter, an aspiring pediatrician who was away at college.


And she remains without a driver’s license due to bureaucratic delays.


“I hope that the officers get punished and are not abusive with other people who are innocent like I was,” she added.


Menard’s case remains open. He is hopeful for a positive outcome and adamant about his innocence.


“I am extremely disappointed by the conduct of these officers, but we are confident that NYPD Internal Affairs will do a proper investigation and my client will be exonerated,” said Menard’s lawyer Joseph Murray.


A Bronx DA spokeswoman would not confirm or discuss the office’s investigation. NYPD spokesman Lt. John Grimpel confirmed the case was under internal review.


The couple has filed a notice of claim against the city alleging false arrest and malicious prosecution.


The city Law Department “will review the complaint if one is filed and respond accordingly,” a spokesman said.

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Nov 19, 2017
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BRONX NEWS: Homophobic super stabbed Bronx tenant but still isn’t fired


A homophobic super from hell stabbed a Bronx dad defending his gay stepson in the eye — yet still works in their apartment building, a new lawsuit charges.


Joey Brown alleges in a suit filed in Bronx Supreme Court that Jose Adorno, the super of his building at E. 176th St., bombarded him with gay-bashing slurs for months before becoming violent.


What set Adorno off, according to Brown’s stepdad, was a jab that Adorno might be gay himself.


“On the down low you probably want my son to f–k you,” Brown’s stepfather, Ronald Griffin, recalled telling Adorno, 35.

Ohio lawmaker was ‘all over Craigslist’ looking for other men


“You purposely go out and pursue him, you call him a f—-t, a homosexual, you’ve been in three physical altercations with him. Why do you specifically go after him? You’re on the down low,” he said, using slang for being in the closet.


“I went right for his manhood and he didn’t appreciate it. He got furious,” Griffin, 47, added.


Surveillance footage obtained by the Daily News last week shows Adorno and Brown, 35, get in a dispute in the building’s lobby on Jan. 2 around 2:10 a.m. before Brown returns with his stepdad.


Griffin takes off his hat and glasses and soon, he and the super are brawling.

Co-defendant testifies against Word of Faith minister


Adorno removes an object from his pocket and jabs Griffin in the eye as he’s hunched over.


“I felt a sharp pinch. I didn’t know what it was, I guess because of the adrenaline and everything,” said Griffin, who is now blind in his right eye.


He somehow remained on his feet and the confrontation continued. Police recovered a knife from the scene.


Griffin and Brown’s attorney, Mark Shirian, said it appeared Griffin had avoided being stabbed through the eye because he’d suffered a fractured orbital bone — not a deep stab wound.

Starbucks cups with ‘gay agenda’ brew controversy, boycott hastag


A security guard sat in a booth watching the beatdown, papers charge. The security company, US Security Associates, denied any wrongdoing.


Brown was terrified.


“It really hurt me. I actually wanted to kill him. That’s my father. I was put in a real f—ed up situation,” Brown said.


Police arrested Adorno, charging in a complaint that he’d told Brown “you f—ing f—-t I hope you f—ing die of AIDS.”

George Takei sorry for ‘joking’ about grabbing men in interview


Brown said he’d endured such hateful comments since August 2016.


“He’s a racist, ignorant — don’t care about anybody but himself. He’s always gay-bashing people,” Brown said.


Adorno, who pleaded guilty to third-degree assault and served 60 days behind bars — on the weekends — is back in the building. Neither Griffin or Brown feel safe.


“He still works the building! It makes me feel uncomfortable. I kind of fear for my life. This is a man who not just tried to hurt me but tried to take out my father,” Brown said.

Man convicted of torturing, killing girlfriend’s 8-year-old son


Adorno had complied with an order of protection since serving his time, Griffin said. Adorno sends colleagues to make any repairs in their apartment. But Griffin remained scared — and is facing surgery to remove liquid from behind his damaged eye.


Along with Adorno, Griffin and Brown also sued the management company and landlord at the building, alleging they received previous complaints about the super but let him continue working. Griffin and Brown seek an unspecified amount of damages.


“This particular super had a history of harassing the LGBT tenants of this building. And they did nothing,” Shirian said.


Efforts to reach Adorno were unsuccessful.

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Nov 19, 2017
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BRONX NEWS: Teens attack bodega worker then cut off cab driver’s thumb


Two teen terrors slashed a Bronx bodega worker before cutting off the thumb of a cabbie early Sunday as they were attempting to flee, police said.


The slicing spree began at 2:30 a.m. when two 17-year-olds, Juan Carlos Sanchez and Kenneth Guzman, got in an argument with a worker at a bodega, F&K Food Center, at Grand Concourse and E. 198th St., according to cops.


One of the suspects flashed a knife and swiped at the worker, who was cut in the hand while trying to block the blade, police said.


The worker called 911 and the teenagers made a run for it.

DNA tactic from crime TV show used to help police nail killer


Two blocks away on Jerome Ave. the suspects hopped in an occupied livery cab. The 47-year-old driver exited the car and confronted the suspects, who slashed off his right thumb during the melee that followed, according to police.


Police caught Sanchez and Guzman close to where the livery cab was parked. They were both charged with assault and criminal possession of a weapon.

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Nov 19, 2017
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BRONX NEWS: Two hurt after Bronx blaze guts three-story home

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Nov 19, 2017
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BRONX NEWS: NYPD sergeant struck by car while responding to Bronx shooting


An NYPD sergeant was hit by a car while rushing to a Bronx shooting Saturday night, police said.


The officer was responding to a 911 call when a vehicle slammed into her car in a parking garage on Washington Ave. near E. 183rd St. in Belmont around 9 p.m., according to authorities.


She was rushed to St. Barnabas Hospital where she was being treated for a leg injury and is expected to survive.


“I heard a gunshot and I heard a crash,” said Jenny Rodriguez, who was working at the bodega across the street.


“She (the sergeant) was screaming and somebody on the street started screaming a cop was hurt, call 911, call 911,” she said.

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Nov 17, 2017
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BRONX NEWS: Cops bust four people in the Bronx, seize drugs and guns


NYPD narcotics cops busted four people at two Bronx apartments and seized guns and drugs early Friday.


The cops found two guns in an apartment on E. 148 St. near St. Ann’s Ave. in Mott Haven, police said. They also seized vials of heroin, cocaine and oxycodone pills.


Moises Garcia, 53, Valerie Virella, 31, and Jose Mirabal, 29, were cuffed on gun and drug charges. Cash totaling 9 was also seized.


A loaded 9-mm Kahr gun and a .32-caliber Harrington and Richardson firearm were found there.


A fourth suspect, Eddi Caraballo, 24, was busted for illegal weapons possession at an apartment on E. 145th St. near St. Ann’s Ave. The police found a loaded 9-mm Smith & Wesson revolver there.

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Nov 17, 2017
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BRONX NEWS: Letitia James calls for NYCHA chair Shola Olatoye to step down


The call for a shakeup at the city Housing Authority amid a growing lead-paint scandal got louder Thursday as the public advocate demanded NYCHA Chairwoman Shola Olatoye resign.


And the Bronx borough president asked Gov. Cuomo to step in.


But Mayor de Blasio took a break from his vacation in Connecticut to tweet that the call for Olatoye to step down was “a cheap stunt” and that she “isn’t going anywhere.”


The resignation demand from Public Advocate Letitia James came hours after she met with Olatoye in her office on Centre St.

De Blasio admits NYCHA failed to perform lead paint inspections


During the hourlong tête-à-tête, James demanded an explanation regarding Tuesday’s damning Department of Investigation report that found in 2016 Olatoye certified that NYCHA was in compliance with rules requiring annual lead paint inspections of apartments when she knew it wasn’t.


James questioned Olatoye about the false certification. Afterwards, she concluded reform would have to start with Olatoye’s departure.


“After meeting with the NYCHA chair today, it has become clear to me that it is time for sweeping operational changes, independent monitoring and transparency at (NYCHA),” James said. “It’s time for new leadership and a fresh start at NYCHA. The circumstances surrounding the city’s failure to conduct lead inspections and the false reporting that followed are simply unacceptable.”


On Wednesday, de Blasio defended Olatoye but admitted to the Daily News that NYCHA’s actions were “unacceptable.” On Thursday, he went postal from the Nutmeg State, taking aim at James via his official Twitter account without mentioning her name.

NYCHA gave false lead paint certifications to thousands of homes


Olatoye “isn’t going anywhere,” he tweeted. “She didn’t create the agency’s shortcomings — she’s the one I trust to fix them. It’s a cheap stunt to call for her to step down, one that puts political ambition ahead of the urgent needs of NYCHA’s residents.”


James soon fired back via spokeswoman Anna Brower, who stated, “While the mayor is busy tweeting from Connecticut, we’re focused on protecting the homes of New Yorkers.”


Earlier Thursday Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. wrote to Cuomo, the state attorney general and the state controller asking them to appoint a state monitor.


The Department of Investigation had recommended that NYCHA appoint a monitor, but Diaz wanted a more independent voice.

HUD big vows to close ‘loopholes’ for NYCHA recipients


“Such a monitor should not come from the city, given its compromised status as the current overseer of public housing in New York City,” he wrote.


“We have continuously expressed concerns with NYCHA’s operational failures and these latest allegations — and potential legal violations — that the agency knowingly committed by exposing New Yorkers to lead paint are particularly disturbing,” said Cuomo spokeswoman Abby Fashnouer, who acknowledged that Cuomo got Diaz’s letter.


NYCHA is obligated by city law and federal regulation to inspect all apartments with possible lead paint hazards every year.The agency stopped doing the annual inspections in 2012 under Olatoye’s predecessor, John Rhea, a Wall Streeter with no housing experience appointed by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg.


De Blasio and Olatoye are weighing DOI’s suggestion of hiring a monitor, but another outside actor may determine how this plays out.


For two years the Manhattan U.S. attorney has been investigating whether NYCHA misled the federal government about the conditions of its apartments. Prosecutors are now in talks with NYCHA to reach a settlement that could involve judicial oversight of the agency.

With Ellen Moynihan

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