There are reports this morning that U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is looking into the Rivington House mess. The de Blasio administration lifted a deed restriction this past November on the longtime community facility, clearing the way for luxury housing in the former nursing home.
There are already ongoing inquiries by the city’s Department of Investigation, the city comptroller and the state attorney general. Politico New York reports:
Attorneys working for Bharara, who is also probing two of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign donors in an unrelated case, attended a recent meeting about the deed restriction change with staff from other investigating agencies, according to a source with knowledge of the meeting and confirmed by two other sources. A spokesman for Bharara declined to comment.
A private nursing home operator, the Allure Group, purchased the building for $28 million, and then paid the city $16 million to change the deed. Allure flipped the property, selling it to luxury condo developers in February for $116 million. The mayor says he did not know about the suspicious transaction until this past month, after stories about the situation hit the mainstream media.
While Bharara’s office isn’t commenting about Rivington House, the U.S. Attorney did have this to say in a speech on Tuesday:
We will keep looking hard at corruption in our legislative branch, as we have been… But not just there: in the executive branch, too, both in city and in state government. Executive offices in government are far from immune from the creeping show-me-the-money culture that has been pervading New York for some time now.
Bharara, of course, successfully prosecuted former Assemblyman Sheldon Silver on corruption charges. Silver will be sentenced in May.