NYCHA RAD list leak
Mayor Bill de Blasio's latest announcement of RAD conversions coming to NYCHA appears to confirm data obtained by Progress New York about the partial privatisation of public housing in New York City. Progress New York/Photo Illustration

de Blasio’s latest announcement of RAD conversions confirms the leaked list of NYCHA public housing developments facing private landlord management

The list of NYCHA developments expected to be converted under RAD in 2020 were confirmed last Thursday.

Bill de Blasio 2020 NYCHA RAD conversion list
The de Blasio administration released on Feb. 13 a list of public housing developments that are expected to be converted under RAD in 2020.

de Blasio administration announcement confirms all public housing developments facing 2020 RAD conversion

By Progress New York Staff

On the same day when a syndicate of nonprofit groups bused public housing residents up to Albany to demand $3 billion in State funding earmarked in this year’s budget for public housing, the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio (WFP-New York City) identified the next group of public housing apartment complexes slated to be handed over to private landlords.

The announcement, released to the press, named the Williamsburg Houses, Linden Houses, and Boulevard Houses in Brooklyn, and Harlem River I Houses, Harlem River II Houses, Audobon Houses, Bethune Gardens, and Marshall Plaza in Manhattan, as the locations that private landlords would begin to manage under a controversial programme of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development known as Rental Assistance Demonstration, or RAD.

Those locations matched information obtained in 2019 by Progress New York, which identified the planned RAD conversion of approximately 60,000 public housing apartments owned and operated by the New York City Housing Authority, or NYCHA. Following the publication of that information, NYCHA officials refused to comment about the published data.

Appearance of conflicts of interest, possible civil rights violations and violations of the law — and more staid silence from top Federal prosecutor

Amongst the real estate developers selected to convert public housing under RAD included L+M Development Partners and Hudson Companies, principals and officials of which have been political supporters of Mayor de Blasio. Donors to Mayor de Blasio’s various political committees routinely get approved to receive valuable Government contracts from his administration. In the past, the mayor’s campaign fundraising practises were the subject of wide-ranging Federal corruption investigation. For this report, the office of U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman declined to answer a request to address the latest, apparent conflicts of interest.

Critics of RAD have questioned how the Nation’s top Federal prosecutor for New York’s southern district could approve a sweeping Settlement Agreement with NYCHA in 2019 that would deliberately deny public housing residents Federal monitorship once the residents’ public housing complexes were converted into private management under RAD. Another of the latest private sector developers named last week to take-over Williamsburg Houses was Wavecrest Management, which has been called a “slumlord” in an exposé broadcast by WNYC 93.9 FM public radio. At one NYCHA development managed by Wavecrest, approximately 80 families were evicted following RAD conversion at Ocean Bay Apartments (Bayside) in Far Rockaway, Queens.

Critics of Mayor de Blasio argue that he is summarily ending public housing as we know it (social housing) without any public input, in violation of State (N.Y. Pub. Housing Law § 150) and City (N.Y.C. Charter § 197-C) laws. Despite the concerns for violations of the Fair Housing Act under RAD and of the laws, the office of U.S. Attorney Berman declined to answer questions about potential violations of civil rights and of the law.

Critics of U.S. Attorney Berman accuse him of deliberately negotiating little budgetary support for NYCHA in the Settlement Agreement that ended Federal investigation into the physical conditions standards at NYCHA in order to usher in the privatisation of public housing. Mr. Berman was first named as Interim U.S. Attorney in 2018 by then U.S. Attorney Jefferson Sessions III. At that time then, Mr. Berman was a law partner to former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (R-New York City), who now acts as attorney to President Donald Trump (R).

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