A deputy city commissioner was not fired because he signed off on lifting deed restrictions at Rivington House, but his boss won’t say what led to his termination.
Lisette Camilo, commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, was in the hot seat during a City Council budget hearing today. Ricardo Morales was relieved of his duties Feb. 24, on the same day that the mayor was being quizzed by federal prosecutors looking into his campaign fundraising practices. During the hearing, Camilo said, “That is a very sensitive personnel issue, as you can imagine.”
According to the Daily News, Camilo told Council members, “Such a personnel issue had absolutely nothing to do with Rivington.”
Asked by Council member Ben Kallos whether, “poor performance” led to Morales’ firing, Camilo said, “It’s not a topic that I can get into.” She also declined to say whether Morales is cooperating with federal prosecutors. Camilo asserted that she made the decision to fire her deputy commissioner and then informed first Deputy Mayor Tony Shorris. De Blasio has said he knew nothing about it.
Morales’ lawyer has called the timing of the dismissal suspicious.
The lifting of deed restrictions at Rivington House cleared the way for the sale of the former nursing home to luxury condo developers for $116 million.