De Blasio accepts federal monitor to oversee New York City Housing Authority
7 March 2019
The Trump administration and the administration of Democratic mayor Bill de Blasio jointly announced last month an agreement for the appointment of a federal monitor to oversee the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), in a move that is a step toward the privatization of the largest public housing system in the United States.
Some weeks later, US Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson announced that he had appointed Bart Schwartz to the post. Schwartz is a former federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York who worked under the direction of Rudy Giuliani, a current member of Donald Trump’s legal team and former New York City mayor.
Schwartz was accused of a conflict of interest in 2017 by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), when he was a receiver in an SEC case against the hedge fund Platinum Management. Schwartz used about 40 percent of Platinum’s funds in the receivership process before being forced to withdraw, after it became known that he had been hired four years prior to defend the “ethical propriety” of a Platinum loan.
The former prosecutor assumes the post as NYCHA’s federal monitor in the midst of a crisis that is deeper than ever, with the Authority needing tens of billions of dollars to update its facilities, and amidst frequent loss of heating for thousands of tenants during the winter months. NYCHA admits that approximately 2,800 of its apartments where young children live have been found to have lead paint contamination, although it has systematically attempted to cover up the scale of the problem.
NYCHA residents, more than 400,000 in all, are subjected to vermin, lead paint, leaks, lack of heat,…