A day a damaging report, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) did not say Wednesday whether there is potentially toxic lead paint in 50,000 of its apartments — about a third of its total.
And in an interview, NYCHA's chair and CEO is not fully explaining why she knowingly signed an official document certifying lead inspections that she knew had not happened. NY1 Political Reporter Josh Robin has the story.
In 91 of NYCHA's 326 developments are apartments that may have hazardous lead paint.
The housing authority isn't specifying which.
Its chairwoman, Shola Olatoye, can't say when those tens of thousands of units were last inspected.
"Look, the records aren't there," Olatoye told me.
City investigators reported this week that Olatoye falsely certified with a federal agency that NYCHA was following rules requiring yearly lead paint inspections.
In an interview Wednesday, she owned up to "compliance and communication gaps."
NY1 asked why she signed a form indicating lead paint inspections that, according to the city investigation department, she knew hadn't happened:
Robin: Why would you sign something that says you were in compliance, if you didn't know that you were in compliance?
Olatoye: Again, I think it's important to note that the disclosure of the problem was — in the pretense that were working under — was that was an important step to our regulator.
That is, she seemed to say signing was OK because she had alerted the federal agency of the issue.
The form was signed under penalty of perjury.
Robin: Are you concerned that you are going to be criminally prosecuted as a result of this?
Olatoye: Look, no. This has been a really significant piece of work that we've been discussing with our regulators, and with our lawyers, and as well as with the Southern District.
That is the U.S. Attorney's office, which is already investigating NYCHA and was given a latest report from city investigators.
"This demonstrates very severe mismanagement," Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters says.
Peters says it also fits a hazardous pattern.
"Not doing proper inspections of smoke detectors, that NYCHA was not doing proper inspections of elevators," Peters says.
And ensuring that those convicted of violent felonies don't live in NYCHA housing.
The Bill de Blasio Administration said it has confidence in Olatoye, not believing that anyone intentionally made misstatements.
Olatoye says she has talked with the U.S. Attorney's Office, although not under oath. The U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment to NY1.