The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) not only failed to do critical lead safety inspections but also falsified paperwork to pretend inspections were done and buildings were meeting requirements according to a report released by the Department of Investigation (DOI).
By mid 2016, Shola Olatoye, the NYCHA chairwoman appointed by Mayor de Blasio in 2014, was aware that lead paint inspections that were supposed to be finalized over four years hadn’t been completed in many of the 180,000 NYCHA apartments. She knew NYSHA was violating federal rules and local law but instead of admitting the problem and trying to fix the issues she and other top managers at NYCHA decided to conceal it.
NYCHA submitted a false certification in October 2016, potentially putting numerous children at risk of lead poisoning. Young children are the most at risk of being poisoned by lead. They can can suffer from developmental delays that can have lifetime consequences. In some cases lead poisoning can be fatal.
Following the release of the DOI report, two NYCHA top managers were forced to resign and another one was demoted. Mayor de Blasio despite calling the failure to inspect NYCHA apartments for lead paint “unacceptable” continues to support Shola Olatoye. Mayor de Blasio himself learned about the scandal a year ago and did nothing. He also admitted that two children were poisoned because of the lapse of safety inspections.
Last week NYSHA announced that all missed inspections would take place Today. Tenants received a notice that they should be home Today between 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm and that if they weren’t NYCHA would exercise the right to enter by removing and replacing door locks if they didn’t have a copy of the key. NYCHA also instructed tenants to pick up keys to replacement locks by no later than 4:30 p.m. — or bring photo ID to collect them later at the local police precinct. NYCHA is organizing this massive inspection on a Monday just after the holidays when most tenants have to get back to work. Monica Corbett, president of Pomonok’s tenant association feels NYCHA behavior is unfair. After years of neglect NYCHA sends a five day notice, just before Thanksgiving, that tenants should be home on Monday when most people are returning to work after the holiday. Tenants feel they are being bullied to stay in their apartments.
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